Afghan Food Crisis Troubles Women Trying to Feed Their Families

Photo Credit: CNN

Shakeela Rahmati is one of many women who make daily trips to obtain alms. Shakeela lives in a neighborhood above the hills on the outskirts of Kabul province.

She walks for three hours with other women to the nearest city. The women wish for the best with each trip, hoping to feed themselves and their children when they return home.

The guarantee that Shakeela and her other companion will get what they want is left to chance, as it depends on the customers who frequent the bakery where the women are stationed. The bakery is one of the few in Kabul where women are permitted to solicit alms from customers.

“Sometimes we eat dinner, sometimes we don’t. The situation has been bad for three years, but this last year was the worst. My husband tried to go to Iran to work, but he was deported,” Shakeela told reporters.

According to the United Nations, half of Afghanistan is suffering from acute hunger. According to a report released in May by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), 43% of the country only gets to eat one meal per day, while 90% of Afghans listed food as their primary need. According to Afghans, the country’s dreadful circumstances can be traced back to the initial effects of Taliban rule, which caused significant damage to the economy and government.

The Taliban froze over $9 billion in central bank funds and imposed trade and foreign policy sanctions. Foreign aid accounts for 80% of Afghanistan’s annual budget; under Taliban rule, this aid was blocked.

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The rule of the Taliban is not doing well in foreign relations

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants positive and peaceful relationships with the world,” the Taliban government stated in one of its declarations. However, many believe that the promise made by the ruling Taliban party is not being realized, as the country’s current state has shown the opposite.

One year after the Taliban took control of the country, much of the foreign aid remains frozen. Furthermore, the Afghan government is under fire for policies that have marginalized women and minorities. For example, the government has prohibited girls from attending secondary school.

The government has promised to repeal the policy, but this has yet to be fulfilled. To add insult to injury, the Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, stated that they would make their own rules. Experts believe that this is putting a strain on international relations.

“The fact of the matter remains that the United States is trying to find moral justifications for the collective punishment of the people of Afghanistan, by freezing the assets and by levying sanctions on Afghanistan as a whole,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar to reporters.

“I do not believe that, that any conditions should be stipulated on the release of funds that do not belong to me, that did not belong to the previous administration, that did not belong to the governments before it. This is the collective money of the people of Afghanistan,” he added.

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Afghan government still to receive help from US despite reluctance

Despite the Afghan government’s obvious reluctance to accept foreign aid, the US sent $1 billion in aid through the World Bank.

A senior State Department official said, “That’s an example of an area where we’re going to want to continue to have pragmatic dialogue with the Taliban. “We’re going to talk to them about humanitarian aid access, about measures that we believe can enhance the country’s macroeconomic stability.”

The United States funding and continued commitment to assisting Afghanistan should benefit the country’s communities. Many economists and experts, however, argue that it is insufficient because of the Taliban’s policies, which include freezing its funds and foreign aid.

“These policies are putting women at risk here. In the name of feminist policies, we are seeing women die of hunger,” International Rescue Committee director in Afghanistan Vicki Aken said.

Source: CNN


Opinions expressed by US Reporter contributors are their own.

Chris Watson

Chris is a freelance writer, photographer and travel enthusiast.