Eid al-Adha is usually a time of celebration for Muslims around the world. In Afghanistan, however, people are struggling to afford basic necessities due to the intense economic crisis. After decades of conflict, natural disasters, and other economic challenges, poverty runs rampant throughout the country. As a result, many Afghans are struggling to find jobs to support themselves and their families.
Without stable incomes, people cannot buy key items such as food and are experiencing intense famine. On average, 90% of household income in Afghanistan is spent on food. Furthermore, an estimate by the UN found that around half of the country’s population is “acutely food insecure” with six million on the brink of starvation. In particular, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and daily wage workers have been highly affected.
In addition to the immediate challenges presented by such hunger, there are also long-term consequences. When people cannot buy items such as food, vendors whose income relies on selling to people cannot make money and thus face similar conditions. This cycle only further entrenches the country and its citizens in poverty.
Afghans, especially women and girls struggle to access health services
Not only does this extreme poverty affect people’s ability to buy food, but it also affects their access to health services. With dwindling support from foreign donors, hospitals in Afghanistan are being overloaded. In particular, there has been a surge of patients who can no longer afford private doctors due to rising costs and reduced financial resources. Furthermore, restrictions on interactions between men and women have created practical concerns for the administration of health services and fears of potential backlash by Taliban leadership.
The Taliban, however, deny the weakness of the health system and blame any of its shortcomings on the previous US presence. Therefore, the country’s conditions are worsened by the Taliban’s disregard for the everyday struggles that Afghans face. Despite seeing the suffering that Afghans experience, they refuse to provide support or acknowledge the hardship they have caused.
Without substantive support, Afghanistan will remain in an economic crisis causing famine and health concerns. By continuing its current policies, the Taliban will only put the country at greater risk of such challenges. In the meantime, the Afghan people will continue to feel the consequences of such policies.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 06/28/2023; The Washington Post 06/28/2023