Mohammed, 4-months-old, among millions of starving children after Tali…

The country’s economy had been rapidly declining under the past US-backed government, which struggled to pay salaries to its employees.

Now the economy is in complete-fledged meltdown after the Taliban seized strength on August 15. The Taliban government is mired in financial crisis, scrambling for cash. The US and other Western countries have cut off direct financial assistance to the government that covered most of its budget; also, the Taliban government cannot access billions of dollars in national reserves held oversea. As a consequence, millions of Afghans have not received salaries for months.

Women wait to receive cash at a money dispensing organised by the World Food Program (WFP) in Kabul last week.Credit:AP

Worsening the situation, hundreds of local health facilities around the country have had to extent back sets or shut down completely because of the without of international funding. That method families with children experiencing from malnutrition have to go further to get care — or get none at all.

The Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital had to expand its space dedicated to malnutrition situations from one room to three, said one doctor, Salahuddin Salah. at the minimum 25 children brought to the hospital over the past two months have died, he said. Most workers at the hospital, from doctors and nurses to cleaning staff, have not received their salaries in three months.

On Monday, when The Associated Press visited the hospital, there were 18 children in the malnutrition ward. It receives around 30 new situations a week, said Zia Mohammed, assistant director for nursing. “Since two and three months, our malnourished patients have increased day by day,” he said.

In one bed, a four-month-old boy named Mohammed was extremely emaciated, the flesh was shrivelled on his tiny limbs. His skin was so thin, the veins showed by on his forehead like a map of tiny blue lines.

Mohammed, four months old, lies on a bed in the Indira Gandhi hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday.Credit:AP

Mohammed was born a month prematurely, and his mother died from complications during the birth. “She bled to death because we had no money to take her to the hospital,” said Rahila, the second wife of Mohammed’s father, who brought the baby to the hospital.

The father was in the military of the ousted government and so hasn’t had an income since the Taliban takeover, Rahila said. They tried giving Mohammed milk bought from the market, but he got diarrhoea from it, so they have mainly fed him tea-soaked bread, she said.


Jinnat Gul, Guldana’s father, said he brought his daughter to Kabul a week ago from his home village, Shahr-e Now, in Baghlan Province, north of Kabul, after a hospital in the provincial capital said it didn’t have supplies to treat her.

He said Guldana is not the only child experiencing back home. “There’s a lot of sick children in the village,” he said, “but there’s no doctor to say if it’s malnutrition or not.”


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