A new report by the charity Save the Children reveals that since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan a year ago, children are suffering with girls more likely to go hungry and feel isolated.
By Vatican News staff reporter
Last year, millions of people around the world witnessed the images of civilians flooding towards the international airport in Kabul desperately seeking to leave Afghanistan as the Taliban took control of the capital.
Twelve months on from the chaos that ensued, and the US’ decision to pull out of the country, the charity Save the Children has released a new report detailing life for children.
The findings show that since the Taliban took control, an economic crisis, crippling drought and new restrictions have shattered girls’ lives, excluding them from society and leaving them hungry, with a quarter showing signs of depression.
The report, titled Breaking point: Life for children one year since the Taliban takeover, reveals that 97% of families are struggling to provide enough food for their children, and that girls are eating less than boys.
According to interviews conducted by the charity, the crisis is also taking a dangerous toll on girls’ mental and psychosocial wellbeing.
Following the Taliban’s takeover last August, thousands of secondary school girls were ordered to stay home, reversing years of progress for gender equality.
The report shows that girls expressed disappointment and anger over the fact they can no longer go to school and said they felt hopeless about their future because they don’t have the rights and freedoms they had previously.
Another area of concern is the economic crisis that has crippled the country. Save the Children says that “following the withdrawal of international forces last year, billions of dollars in international aid were withdrawn, Afghanistan’s foreign currency reserves were frozen and the banking system collapsed. The subsequent economic crisis and the country’s worst drought in 30 years have plunged households into poverty.”
The report reveals that the economic situation is leaving households without enough to eat and without basic items.
Child marriages are also on the increase.
Impact on children
Speaking about current situation for children in the country, Chris Nyamandi, Save the Children Country Director in Afghanistan, said:
“Life is dire for children in Afghanistan, one year since the Taliban took control. Children are going to bed hungry night after night. They’re exhausted and wasting away, unable to play and study like they used to. They’re spending their days toiling in brick factories, collecting rubbish and cleaning homes instead of going to school.”
He also emphasized that “Girls are bearing the brunt of the deteriorating situation. They’re missing more meals, suffering from isolation and emotional distress and are staying home while boys go to school. This is a humanitarian crisis, but also a child rights catastrophe.”
Since the Taliban regained control in August 2021, Save the Children has been scaling up its response to support the increasing number of children in need.
The charity provides health, nutrition, education, child protection, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene and food security and livelihoods support.
Since September 2021 it has reached more than 2.5 million people, including 1.4 million children.