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Poverty-stricken families in Afghanistan driven to selling their own children

The UN’s World Food Programme has warned millions could die unless urgent action is taken to save 22.8 million Afghans who are close to starving to death

Parents outside the city of Herat have spoken of how they sold off their baby daughter, as her other children were dying of hunger

Taliban-ruled Afghanistan is teetering on the brink of major disaster with poverty-stricken families so desperate they have been driven to selling their children to men, other families, and an uncertain future.

Close to a million children are at risk of starvation, the UN’s World Food Programme has warned.

The group has said millions could die unless urgent action is taken to save 22.8 million Afghans who are close to starving to death.

Afghans have been hit by a global blockage on aid since western troops suddenly pulled out of Kabul.

The Taliban’s brutal take-over has led to a lack of international recognition by the world of the new government – and no more aid.

Grieving parents outside the city of Herat have told how they sold off their baby daughter for the equivalent of £360 to a man who lives nearby.

The man has claimed she will be married off to his son when she is older but the parents know the girl may face a far worse future than marrying his son.



A family at the intensive care unit at the Indira Gandhi hospital in Kabu
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Image:

REUTERS)




The unnamed mother cried as she told a BBC reporter: “My other children were dying of hunger so we had to sell my daughter.

“How can I not be sad? She is my child.

“I wish I didn’t have to sell my daughter.”

Her husband’s only job was once collecting rubbish locally but even that earns no money now.



The Taliban completed their terrifying takeover of Afghanistan in August of this year
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)




The husband says: “We are starving. Right now we have no flour, no oil at home. We have nothing.

“My daughter does not know what her future will be.

“I don’t know how she will feel about it but I had to do it.”



Babies sleep in a shared bed at the maternity unit at the Indira Gandhi hospital in Kabul
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Image:

REUTERS)




The man has paid half of the fee for the baby girl and will pay the rest when she is handed over to him in a few months time.

David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Programme, said:

“Afghanistan is now among the world’s worst humanitarian crises, if not the worst.

“We are on a countdown to catastrophe.”


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