In their desperation to escape crippling poverty, some Afghan families are reportedly selling their young daughters as promised brides for men who can afford to pay. Some Afghans have resorted to selling kidneys on the black market. For those without any organs to spare, selling a child into a dangerous and uncertain future is better than the prospect of watching them freeze or starve to death in the first harsh winter after the Taliban takeover.
Winter of crippling poverty in Afghanistan
During the long NATO occupation, foreign money and resources flooded into the war-torn and impoverished country of Afghanistan.
It was a ruinously expensive occupation for the United States, but many ordinary Afghans never saw a penny of what was spent on their country over that 20 year period.
Most of that money was pocketed by corrupt government and military officials or funded poorly conceived nation-building operations with little relevance to normal Afghans.
When the American-backed government collapsed and the Taliban swept back into power last year, all of that money was instantly cut off and Afghanistan was economically isolated from the world.
The shock of suddenly going from being the target of one of the most aggressive nation-building programs in history to being entirely cut off is something few nations could withstand.
Afghanistan was already far less economically and politically stable than most countries and poverty in rural areas has always been present.
Selling organs and children
Even if the new Taliban regime sincerely wanted to alleviate poverty and help suffering families, there’s not much it could do without any money.
Aside from what little international aid they can get, Afghans are mostly left alone to face the economic collapse as best they can.
With winter having arrived, millions of people in the mountainous country are enduring snow and freezing temperatures with the little fuel and warm clothing they can find.
One man, in debt and unable to feed his children, said that he sold a kidney on the newly thriving organ black market for $3,000.
For others, particularly those with large families to feed and keep warm, selling a daughter into an arranged marriage is one of the few remaining options for buying food.
Pessimistic analyses suggest that the economic situation in Afghanistan is unlikely to improve on its own any time soon.