Afghans reportedly selling their children to survive crippled economy

"Don't think I am not distraught at the thought of selling my daughter — I just can't see what else I can do," a father said.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

As the rush to sell all their belongings for a small sum of cash during their frantic evacuation from Afghanistan has faded, many of those remaining in the country have had to resort to dire actions, selling much of their remaining belongings, and even their children, to survive in the now crippled economy of Afghanistan.

One father was discovered at a now sprawling Kabul bazaar selling his four-year-old daughter to help feed his remaining family.

"I would prefer to die than be reduced to selling my daughter," Mir Nazir, 38, told Anthony Loyd of The Times.

"But my own death wouldn't save anyone in my family. Who would feed my other children? This isn't about choice. It's about desperation," he added.

A pawnbroker was offering around £170, or $200 for the young girl, but Nazir said he was holding out to sell his daughter to a shop owner for around £420, or about $500.

Nazir had previously worked as a police officer in Ghazni, but lost his job and fled to Kabul with his wife and five children just days before the Taliban took over the capital city.

In Kabul, Nazir said his rent prices outpaced his wages, and his family was hungry.

"I received an offer from a shop owner, a man I knew who had no children," he continued. "He offered 20,000 afghanis for my daughter Safia to live with him and start working in his shop."

"If I ever get the 20,000 afghanis to buy her back, he said I could. But I can't sell my daughter for that low a price, so I asked for 50,000. We are still discussing. She may have a better future working in a shop than staying with me, and the price may save my family."

"Don't think I am any different to you. Don't think I didn't love the baby child I brought into the world and have loved her ever since, don't think I am not distraught at the thought of selling my daughter — I just can't see what else I can do," Nazir added.

Since the Taliban took over Kabul on August 15, the value of the afghani has tumbled to near-record low exchange rates, according to The Times.

Following the Taliban's takeover, much of the international aid supplied to Afghanistan was halted or cut off.

The World Bank halted its aid to the country on August 25, a week after the International Monetary Fund had blocked access to $460 million in emergency reserves.

The US has also blocked around $7 billion in Afghan central bank reserves held in US institutions.

In addition, an international agreement between more than 60 countries and Afghanistan to give Kabul $12 billion over the next four years has been placed in jeopardy.

As a result, the economy in which 75 percent of public spending is dependent of foreign support has seen prices for food skyrocket in recent weeks as hundreds of thousands of security sector and government workers face unemployment.

Most banks have reopened since their temporary closures, with withdrawal limits of around $170 per week.

"We are relieved that the war and fighting have ended," Nazir continued, "but we are all facing a new enemy: poverty. To work, without ever having enough to pay the bills, and come home to see your wife and children getting hungrier as you slide daily into worse debt without any hope that things will get better is a form of pain and worry as bad as the war."

The former governor of the country's central bank, Ajmal Ahmady, said that the Taliban has a mere fraction of the country's national reserves following the halting of international cash funds.

"We can say the accessible funds to the Taliban are perhaps 0.1-0.2 per cent of Afghanistan's total international reserves," he tweeted. "Not much."


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