Bartering girls into marriage to pay off opium debts has become more prevalent in recent years in Afghanistan. Farmers, middlemen in the drug trade, drug couriers, and even some drug lords themselves sell their daughters to more powerful traffickers and smugglers — and very little is being done to combat the injustice.
Posts tagged afghanistan.
An Afghan man with mental health problems shields his face from the camera as he is chained to a wall of a room at the Mia Ali Baba shrine, in line with a traditional belief that spending 40 days chained in isolation at the shrine can cure the illness, in Jalalabad July 9, 2012.
Afghanistan is struggling to fight the mental health problems that afflict some of the population after decades of violence, according to Abdul Rasool, an official from the health department of Jalalabad province. REUTERS/Parwiz
Many people will look at this and recoil in terror at how “backwards” it is. Meanwhile, solitary confinement is a common practice in the American prison system.
That fact is important to add. It’s also important to mention that Afghanistan’s mental health institutions have effectively been destroyed since the war began and with the great number of people who are suffering from the United States’ prolonged occupation, the entire system is massively overloaded. In many cases, one never fully recovers from PTSD but instead, they’re forced to learn how to cope with it for the rest of their lives. How do you get an entire country back up on its feet after over a decade of war and violence?
154 active duty troops have committed suicide in the first 155 days of the new year—a rate alarmingly close to one per day. The number dead from suicides eclipses the U.S. forces killed in Afghanistan by about 50 percent.
In Afghanistan, more than 92% of the population lives without proper sanitation, and four out of five people have no access to safe drinking water. For the last two years, water, sanitation and hygiene teams from the NGO Medair have been working to improve the situation.
From Medair :
Cultural Background and Current Challenges
“More than 35 years of conflict and war have left the people of Afghanistan in a state of protracted crisis. Despite the overthrow of the Taliban regime ten years ago, civil unrest and increasing levels of insurrection have hindered efforts to bring stability and development to the nation. Almost a third of Afghans are food insecure. In 2010, 191,000 of Afghanistan’s youngest children died before reaching their fifth birthday—that’s an average of 523 child deaths every single day. More than one-quarter of those deaths are caused by diarrhoea, an indication of the country’s poor sanitation and unsafe water. In addition, more than 400,000 people—the majority living in remote and isolate communities—are affected each year by natural disaster. For these families, many already living hand-to-mouth, a flood, landslide, or earthquake can exhaust all their coping means, leaving them desperate for outside assistance.”
What is Medair doing in the country?
Medair’s purpose for being in Afghanistan is to assist communities that have critical needs. We work with families affected by natural disaster, the chronically poor who are living in underdeveloped areas, and communities who have been displaced by conflict. In particular, Medair seeks to identify and serve communities that are isolated and neglected, with no other means of assistance.
In order to meet these needs, Medair currently runs the following programmes: food aid; nutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and emergency response, incorporating disaster prevention and/or mitigation measures. [Read More]
#1 : A young girl gives her goats a drink in the village of Borlak Paein in Bamyan.
#2 : A woman collects water from a stream in the village of Borlak Paein in Bamyan.
#3 : A mother of six washes potatoes at her house in the village of Borlak Paein in Bamyan. Her husband’s crop was badly affected by a prolonged drought and he has had to buy in a lot of food for the winter.
#4 : A girl leads donkeys while her father stands on the plough behind in a village in the province of Bamyan. A prolonged drought means this year’s harvest has been poor and many people are worried about having enough food to see them through the winter.
#5 : Collecting water in Bamyan province. Cholera, diarrhoea and dysentery are common in Afghanistan, and more than 20% of children under the age of five will die as a result of water-related diseases.
#6 : Zaina, a widow and mother of six, is a beneficiary of Medair’s financial support for vulnerable families.
#7 : The valleys of Bamyan, where Medair runs many of its water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects.
#8 : Khadija’s two grandchildren have lived with her since their mother left to marry another man after the death of her husband. A widow herself, Khadija is a beneficiary of Medair’s vulnerable persons programme as she has no means of income or place of her own.
[Credit : Kate Holt/Medair]
Afghan War News of the Day: A US soldier reportedly carried out a brutal slaying of at least 16 Afghan civilians early this morning in two small villages near his base in the country’s southern Kandahar Province.
“It appears he walked off post and later returned and turned himself in,” military spokesman Lt. Cmdr. James Williams said of the unidentified staff sergeant who is currently in custody.
According to eyewitnesses, the soldier walked into at least three homes in the villages of Balandi and Alkozai and fired at their occupants. Nine children and three women were among the dead, per the latest report.
The deputy commander of Afghanistan’s international troop coalition, Lt. Gen. Adrian J. Bradshaw, stressed that this was “in no way part of authorized military activity.” US officials further denied earlier reports that the shooting was perpetrated by more than one assailant.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai released a statement demanding an explanation for the attack, which he referred to as “an intentional killing of innocent civilians [that] cannot be forgiven.”
The Taliban issued a similar statement, admonishing “the so called American peace keepers” for “once again quench[ing] their thirst with the blood of innocent Afghan civilians.”
The US Embassy in Kabul attempted to diffuse the tension by releasing a statement expressing “deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” but experts say today’s incident may be the “fatal hammer blow on the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan.”
President Obama’s drawdown plan has US soldiers transferring full security control to their Afghan counterparts by the end of 2014.
[photo: afp/getty via msnbc.]
That’s it. We’re done. Get us out of there. Pull us out immediately - I don’t care about withdrawal complications. It’s over.
2000 of our veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are homeless and 900,000 of them are unemployed.
35% experience significant mental illnesses.
War is bullshit.
2,333,972 individuals have been deployed to either Iraq, Afghanistan, or both. 38 out of 100,000 Iraq/Afghan vets commit suicide. The suicide rate for the general U.S. population is 11.5 out of 100,000. If you take into account all veterans, 18 commit suicide every day. 6,000 killed themselves in 2009 alone. 98 of them were vets returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. 1,868 of these returning veterans attempted suicide in 2009, with over 10,000 in all. 1,286 of the vets returning from Afghanistan or Iraq are now amputees. 1 in 5 have sustained a traumatic brain injury. The unemployment rate of returning vets is 12.1%, compared to the current national average of 8.6%.
Click here to learn how to help and support returning veterans.
Many children in Afghanistan are among the most exploited members of society, being forced to work almost as soon as they can walk.
This brick factory where young boys work to pay off their family’s debts is just one of many examples of child labour in the country.
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reports from Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.
“The people here are victims of a country that struggles to function, that fails even to provide the most basic protection to its most vulnerable citizens.”
When 1 in 4 children in Afghanistan between the ages of 7 and 14 works, either in addition to, or instead of going to school, you know the “liberational” Afghan war was a success.
Afghanistan under the Taliban was a place of perpetual warfare and abuse of women. The Taliban systematically and viciously persecuted the Shiite minority. The end of the Taliban as a sovereign force in Afghanistan has been an improvement. No honest person would say otherwise.
I’m not arguing Taliban rule would be better. What I’m saying is that the United States deserves ZERO credit for “liberating” Afghanistan because we’ve done nothing to make conditions better. No credible justification of the U.S. war in Afghanistan exists.
From a previous post of mine:
- Afghanistan is the world’s 3rd poorest country with a GDP of $27.01 billion.
- The poverty rate in Afghanistan is 36%, unemployment, 35%, and inflation, 30.5%.
- The population’s life expectancy is 44.4 years.
- The death of each Taliban fighter costs between $50-100 million. That’s, at the very least, $1 billion per 20 Taliban fighters. The best estimate of Taliban killed annually by coalition forces is roughly 2,000. Killing the estimated 35,000 Taliban fighting the occupation would cost $1.75 trillion.
- Nearly 6,000 civilians have died since 2006 and over 2,000 have died this year alone.
- Over the last year the number of child casualties has risen by 55%.
- 92% of Afghan men polled don’t know why the United States is in Afghanistan or are even aware of 9/11. “The survey also suggests that Afghans are skeptical of their own government’s ability to protect them, and have little regard for the fledgling democratic institutions the country is building. Fully 43% could not name one positive aspect of democracy, and nearly two-thirds — 61% — said they didn’t think Afghan forces would be able to keep up the fight against the Taliban if and when Western forces withdrew.”
- A significant number of Afghans actually prefer rule under the Taliban as opposed to Karzai.
- According to a 2009 study from the U.S. Army in Kandahar, 94% of residents support reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
- Further support for the Taliban has been fostered due to serious abuses by the U.S.-backed Afghan Local Police, partially trained by the LAPD, including abuses such as “killings, rape, arbitrary detention, abductions, forcible land grabs, and illegal raids by irregular armed groups.”
- According to a UN report, corruption and bribes account for nearly 25% of Afghanistan’s GDP.
- According to the Red Cross, the situation in Afghanistan has worsened for “civilian casualties, internal displacement and health care access and all of it is ‘against the background of a proliferation of armed actors’” since the overthrow of the Taliban.
- At least 71% of Afghan residents say they want U.S. and NATO forces to leave.
- Human rights in Afghanistan remain dismal and its economy very weak.
- The war in Afghanistan has devastated the country’s environment.
- Also, the Pentagon spends billions each year on PR to sell the Afghan war.
How have we improved conditions in Afghanistan?
Afghan girls work at a first Internet cafe for women in Kabul March 8, 2012. Afghanistan opened its first female-only internet cafe on Thursday, hoping to give women a chance to connect to the world without verbal and sexual harassment and free from the unwanted gazes of their countrymen.
[Credit : Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]
An Afghan policeman runs away as protesters throw rocks near a U.S. military base in Kabul on Feb. 22, 2012. At least 11 people were wounded Wednesday when shots were fired as violent protests erupted for a second day after Muslim holy books were burned at NATO’s main base in Afghanistan.
The shots were fired into demonstrators when they charged at police lines and smashed car windows, witnesses told Reuters. It appeared police had fired the shots but there was no immediate confirmation from Afghan security forces.
On Tuesday thousands of demonstrators besieged the Bagram air base in protest at the alleged burning of copies of the Quran.
[Credit : Ahmad Masood / Reuters]