“Now is not the right time to forget the Afghan people”


Children play marbles on top of a hill in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 4, 2022.DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images

  • Afghanistan has been under Taliban rule for about a year now.

  • Surrounded by the country’s economic collapse and lack of resources, the children of Afghanistan are suffering.

  • A director of humanitarian aid said that with increasing forced labour, malnutrition and restrictions on education, children need support.

A year after the Taliban took power, Afghan children face death, suffering and an uncertain future.

With forced labor, malnutrition and education restrictions holding the population back, Asuntha Charles, an aid worker, told Insider that Afghan children are in dire need of support. Since the Taliban takeover, the United States and its international partners have frozen roughly $10 billion in country assets leaving those who remain inside the country in dire need of outside assistance.

“Now is not the right time for international communities to stay away from Afghanistan, but to provide more and more support so that the future generation will not be affected, but can see the life and hope,” said Charles, originally from southern India.

Charles has worked with World Vision for about two years and has lived in Afghanistan for about 20 years. The Christian organization focuses on helping children facing poverty and justice.

Since the Taliban regained control in August last year, economic collapse, drought and the aftermath of a major earthquake have devastated the region and the people who live there.

“One thing that really worries me is the future of girls and boys in this country. Because the next generation is really losing a lot of opportunities because of so many factors,” Charles told Insider.

A study by an NGO called Save the Children found that approximately one million children had been forced into child labor in February.

“It’s really going to have an impact not just physically but psychologically on the kids that are in this country now,” Charles added.

It is not uncommon for children in the Taliban-controlled region to work to survive.

After school, some children, mostly boys, are forced to sell items earn money to eat or look for litter to burn for warmth.

The girls have been forbidden to receive an education beyond primary school, a dramatic regression in women’s rights that has occurred in the region over the past 20 years.

And outside of education, the lives of Afghan youth are at stake.

Hundreds of children died while playing outside from explosive weapons left over from the war.

And, in February, about 5 million children were close to starvation, according to The Guardian. And, in August, about 90% of households in the country did not have enough food to survive, CBS News reported.

Some parents had to face the impossible decision of selling their children in marriage or at the bazaar in order to feed the rest of the family.

“That’s why we really want to keep advocating that now is not the right time to forget about the Afghan people and especially the children, and the world needs to support them, and that’s very, very crucial,” Charles told Insider.

She acknowledged the many humanitarian issues facing the world, but said she did not want the world to forget about Afghanistan.

“There are so many crises in the world, so people also tend to associate themselves with different conflicts,” Charles continued, “So that kind of frustration exists among people, that they’re forgotten.”

Read the original article at Business Intern


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