Afghan people selling children, body parts amid economic crisis

A nurse checks the weight of a child in a makeshift clinic organized by World Vision at a settlement near Herat, Afghanistan
Associated Press/Mstyslav Chernov

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in an address on Thursday that people in Afghanistan are “selling their children and their body parts” to provide for their families amid the country’s near economic collapse. 

“Without immediate action, we face a starvation and malnutrition crisis in Afghanistan,” Guterres said in remarks delivered in New York.

“People are already selling their children and their body parts, in order to feed their families,” he said of the Afghan people struggling as their economy has “effectively collapsed,” with roughly 80 percent of the population in debt.

“This spells catastrophe for both Afghans struggling to feed their families, and for our aid operations,” he added, citing spiking food prices across the world as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

The secretary-general also referenced a prior warning from the U.N. that 97 percent of people in the country could be living below the poverty line by mid-2022. “Regrettably, that number is being reached faster than anticipated,” he said.

After Kabul was overtaken by the Taliban in August, the United Nations warned in September that millions of Afghans were at risk of starvation

Now, the need for humanitarian aid has tripled since June — just before the takeover — and is increasing “day by day and month by month,” Guterres said in his remarks on Thursday. 

The U.N. leader also made an appeal for $4.4 billion in funding for Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, Taliban leaders in Afghanistan closed secondary schools to girls, alleging that they would reopen when there is a plan in place that is compliant with Islamic law.

Guterres also denounced that move on Thursday, saying “support for the rights of Afghan women is support that lifts children out of hunger, and communities out of poverty.”

“There is simply no justification for such discrimination,” he added.

Tags Afghanistan Antonio Guterres António Guterres Taliban United Nations

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