Afghan Families Sell Children to Survive Since Taliban Takeover

This is just so sad. OMG. Prayers for Afghanistan.


HERAT, Afghanistan—Desperate to feed her family, Saleha, a housecleaner here in western Afghanistan, has incurred such an insurmountable debt that the only way she sees out is to hand over her 3-year-old daughter, Najiba, to the man who lent her the money.

The debt is $550.

Saleha, a 40-year-old mother of six who goes by one name, earns 70 cents a day cleaning homes in a wealthier neighborhood of Herat. Her much older husband doesn’t have any work.

Such is the starkness of deepening poverty in Afghanistan, a humanitarian crisis that is worsening fast after the Taliban seized power on Aug. 15, prompting the U.S. to freeze $9 billion in Afghan central-bank assets and causing a halt in most foreign aid.

With the financial system and trade paralyzed after the Taliban takeover, prices for basic food items like flour and oil have doubled since mid-August. The lender offered early this month to write off the debt if she hands over her little girl.

They have three months to provide the money. Otherwise, Najiba will be doing household work in the lender’s home and be married off to one of his three sons when she reaches puberty. They are not sure which one. The oldest is now 6.

“If life continues to be this awful, I will kill my children and myself,” said Saleha, speaking in her tiny two-room home. “I don’t even know what we will eat tonight.”

“I will try to find money to save my daughter’s life,” added her husband, Abdul Wahab.

Read more on Wall Street Journal.