What Women in Afghanistan Take to Feed Their Families

Shakeela Rahmati is one of the several ladies who laboriously travel daily in search of alms. Shakeela resides in a community on the hillsides above the Kabul region.

She travels three hours to the closest city on a lengthy trek with other women. The women hope that they will be able to feed their families when they get home after each journey.

As everything depends on the people that visit the bakery where Shakeela and her other companion are stationed, there is no guarantee that they will receive what they hope for. Only a few places in Kabul allow women to solicit alms from customers; fortunately, the bakery is one of them.

“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,” stated Shakeela.

The United Nations reported that half of Afghanistan suffers from severe hunger. According to research released in May by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), 90% of Afghans cited food as their most basic need, while 43% of the country only consumes one meal daily. According to Afghans, the first consequences of the Taliban administration, which seriously harmed the country’s economy and government, are to blame for the deplorable conditions of the nation.

Along with imposing bans on commercial and international relations, the Taliban froze about $9 billion in central bank funds. Foreign aid accounts for 80% of Afghanistan’s annual budget, and during the Taliban rule, this aid was obstructed.

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Under Taliban rule, Afghanistan is detached from the world

In one of its announcements, the Taliban administration stated that “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants positive and peaceful relationships with the world.” Many people believe, however, that the Taliban party in power is not living up to its pledge because the nation’s actual circumstances indicate the exact opposite.

Even a year after the Taliban took control of the nation, a large portion of the foreign funds remains blocked. Additionally, due to its policies disenfranchising minorities and women, the Afghan government is under pressure from critics and activists. For instance, girls are not permitted to attend secondary schools.

The administration has stated that it will end the practice, but this has not yet happened. Moreover, Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s top leader, further rubbed salt in the wounds by declaring that the group would institute its own rules. This is pushing back against international relations, say analysts.

“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 the foreign ministry spokesperson, Abdul Qahar.

“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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US Officials will still extend aid to Afghanistan

The US still donated $1 billion in aid through the World Bank despite the Afghan government’s obvious resistance to receiving assistance from outside sources.

“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,” a senior State Department official said.

Communities in Afghanistan should benefit from US assistance, including financial and ongoing support. However, due to the Taliban’s policies, which include blocking its funds and foreign help, many economists and analysts argue that it is insufficient.

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

Source: CNN