Qadir is a thirty-five-year-old man living in Afghanistan. As a father of six children, including a 20-day-old little girl, he knows that he has a lot of responsibility to keep his family fed and clothed. However, work has dried up since the Taliban took over the Middle Eastern country in August and has forced Qadir into a horrendous situation. Now, the loving father has been forced to sell his eldest daughter, seven-year-old Zohra, to the Taliban in order to get enough money so his family can survive the brutally cold winter.
With famine eating away at his family, Qadir was distraught seeing his children wasting away. And because the Taliban is back in power in Afghanistan, the country is worse off than it was before the organization overpowered the existing government. He used to work as a laborer taking home a few dollars per day. However, now that work has disappeared, and he has no way of earning a living to keep his family fed.
He said, “I don’t have money for food. I am scared for my kids because, in winter, they will die due to cold.”
Qadir was forced into a dire situation, and two years ago, he had no choice but to sell Zohara to the highest bidder. A 52-year-old man he did not know paid the father 170,000 Afghanis, which is equivalent to about $1,869. At the time, Zohra was just a five-year-old girl and did not know what was expected of her as she was shipped off to the 52-year-old stranger.
So far, the buyer has not arrived to pick up the “goods” he purchased from Qadir. This has meant that an undercurrent of fear has terrified the family ever since he was forced into the agreement.
“I had to sell her to keep the others alive. I didn’t have a choice,” he said.
Unfortunately, the family has already spent most of the money received from the sale of his eldest daughter. The family had to pay back medical bills for one of the sons who had gotten sick. The rest of the money went toward paying back a debt that Qadir owed for food purchased on credit.
Every week, Zohra fears her buyer will arrive to claim her. As she grows older, she is beginning to understand the horrible situation she has been forced into by her father.
When the Mail asked her about how she felt to be sold, her eyes filled with tears, and she responded, “I’m scared.”
Qadir is horrified that he was forced to sell his daughter to a stranger. He added: “She cries all the time. She asks her mother why we sold her. Her future is ruined. I am unsure how the man will live with her, as she is so small. I can’t sleep.”
Families living in Afghanistan are facing a horrible situation now that the Taliban has retaken power in the country. Foreign aid has dried up. Prior to the Taliban’s takeover, the foreign aid payments made up 40 percent of the country’s GDP.
Now, the United Nations estimates that only 5 percent of families in Afghanistan have enough money for food while the rest face starvation.
“Afghanistan is among the world’s worst humanitarian crises, if not the worst,” said David Beasley, the executive director of the UN’s World Food Program. “We are on a countdown to catastrophe.”