Afghanistan Taliban
FILE - A Taliban fighter stands guard as women wait to receive food rations distributed by a humanitarian aid group, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 23, 2023. A U.N. report says the Taliban are restricting Afghan women's access to work, travel and healthcare if they are unmarried or don't have a male guardian, a mahram. The Taliban have banned women from education, most jobs and public spaces like parks since seizing control of Afghanistan in 2021. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)
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Foreign aid drops sharply as Taliban abuses jeopardize Afghan health system, group says

14 Comments
By RAHIM FAIEZ

Human Rights Watch said Monday that Afghanistan’s public health system has been hit hard following a sharp reduction in foreign assistance, coupled with serious Taliban abuses against women and girls, jeopardizing the right to healthcare of millions of Afghans.

In a new report, the New York-based watchdog said this has left the “Afghan population increasingly vulnerable to severe malnutrition and illness” among other effects of inadequate medical care.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 drove millions into poverty and hunger after foreign aid stopped almost overnight. Sanctions against the Taliban rulers, a halt on bank transfers and frozen billions in Afghanistan’s currency reserves, have cut off access to global institutions and the outside money that supported the aid-dependent economy before the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces.

In 2023, the World Food Program warned that malnutrition rates in Afghanistan were at a record high with half the country suffering from severe hunger throughout the year.

“Women and girls have been disproportionately affected by the healthcare crisis, particularly because of Taliban abuses,” said the report.

The Taliban have barred women from most areas of public life and work and stopped girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade as part of harsh measures they imposed after taking power.

Taliban restrictions on women’s freedom of movement and employment have gravely limited their access to health services, the HRW report said, while bans on education have blocked almost all training of future female healthcare workers in the country.

“The loss of foreign development aid and Taliban rights violations have caused a catastrophic health crisis in Afghanistan that is disproportionately harming women and girls,” the report quoted Fereshta Abbasi, Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch, as saying.

She added that "the cost of treatment and medicine has put care out of reach for many Afghans.”

HRW remotely interviewed 46 Afghan and foreign aid officials, healthcare workers, and people seeking healthcare in 16 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces between February 2023 and January 2024. Fifteen of the interviewees, 12 women and three men, were with Afghans who had sought health care. The rights group also talked to Afghan healthcare officials, 10 women and eight men.

The Taliban government spokesmen were not immediately available to comment on the report.

While Afghans living in poverty have always faced difficulties obtaining health care because of costs, a rising number now struggle to pay for food and are often unable to cover the price of medicines and transportation to reach health services.

“Since the Taliban took over, the price of my medications has nearly doubled," a 54-year-old man living with a kidney infection told HRW. "This is too much for anyone who doesn’t have a job.”

The report also cited an unnamed official with the charity Mercy Corps in September as telling HRW that “the humanitarian response in Afghanistan simply cannot keep pace with the country’s worsening conditions.”

The Taliban have also also imposed the women's head-covering, or hijab, and strict regulations regarding the presence of a male guardian, known as mahram, further impeding women from traveling for work or receiving treatment, the report said.

The report cited an unnamed doctor in the town of Samangan as saying they have been told by the Taliban "not to treat any female patient who is not accompanied by a mahram or is not in full hijab.”

“The unprecedented economic crisis in Afghanistan has meant that millions are facing life-threatening conditions,” said Abbasi, the HRW researcher. “The situation demands more than humanitarian aid; it requires sustainable efforts to avert further economic decline and alleviate the immense suffering of the Afghan population.”

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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Every time I read articles like this I thank whatever powers that be, that I live in a country, while not being perfect by any means, is a hell of a lot better than what these women and children live in.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Xi welcomed Asadullah Bilal Karimi, the Taliban-appointed Afghan ambassador, in a formal ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, along with envoys from Cuba, Iran, Pakistan and 38 other countries, who also presented their credentials.

One year ago, China’s Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Co, or CAPEIC, signed a major oil extraction contract with Taliban authorities in Afghanistan. That 25-year contract requires CAPEIC to invest $150 million by the first year and a total of $540 million by 2026.

no money? no worries, you got Xi at the back there supporting you. Human right issues? no worries, that is the ticket for being good friend with commies.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It's their culture and all cultures are equal. They will be fine without our interference.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Mr KiplingToday 04:19 pm JST

It's their culture and all cultures are equal. They will be fine without our interference.

They can be fine without our money, too, in that case.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Not surprising. I see that the women are dressed again in their beekeeper suits.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Afghanistan's another fine Biden foreign policy success, safety and security on the ground there has evaporated.

Should all prepare for Ukraine to be something along same lines, only not as dire as so many have fled to Europe or Russia. It's no wonder Biden now polls so badly on matters related to US foreign 'entanglements',

Biden's approval rating has remained below 50% SINCE failed Afghanistan pull-out debacle in Aug 2021, trending down whole time subsequently to this day.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

HopeSpringsEternalToday 06:19 pm JST

Glad I was here for this fine gem of a post.

Afghanistan's another fine Biden foreign policy success, safety and security on the ground there has evaporated.

It's not a Biden foreign policy failure either as three previous presidents had a go and it was a mess beforehand.

Should all prepare for Ukraine to be something along same lines, only not as dire as so many have fled to Europe or Russia. It's no wonder Biden now polls so badly on matters related to US foreign 'entanglements',

Yes, it will be just like Afghanistan, except not. Stunning logic.

Biden's approval rating has remained below 50% SINCE failed Afghanistan pull-out debacle in Aug 2021, trending down whole time subsequently to this day.

Inflation is what people say they are concerned about.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Hope springs..

Afghanistan's another fine Biden foreign policy success, safety and security on the ground there has evaporated.

To be fair, Afghans problems and the US role started long before Biden or Trump.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I’m surprised the Mickey Mouse sneakers aren’t a violation of some sort.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Taliban are a despicable criminal group who have a pathological hatred of women and girls. Afghanistan- while under these violent thugs - should be shunned from all contact with the civilized world. No sport, no foreign aid, no visas granted.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Foreign aid drops sharply as Taliban abuses jeopardize Afghan health system, group says

This was always going to happen, and will only get worse as the Taliban refuse to honor their past pledges on female rights. Live like stone age cavemen and you will be treated as such by the wider world. The world is not going to support your horrendous way of life. Learn to do everything for yourselves because soon there will be nothing but a trickle of aid.

No sympathy for the Taliban or its supporters. All aid should be diverted to getting all women out of the country to begin new better lives in a new country. Taliban do not deserve to have women in their lives.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's their culture and all cultures are equal.

8 minus votes

Well, I was being facetious.

Of course all cultures are not equal.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I'm so happy we got out of there. Billions spent to make a better country for everyone. Wasted.

Taliban are throwbacks to the middle age superstitions. Screw them. You can't "fix" stupid.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Mr KiplingFeb. 12 11:46 pm JST

It's their culture and all cultures are equal.

8 minus votes

Well, I was being facetious.

Of course all cultures are not equal.

Unlikely as you said "they will be fine without our interference." One wonders why this is what gets you to moderate your cynicism.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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