In a matter of months as Afghanistan’s economy craters, many stable, middle-class families like Salihi’s have plummeted into desperation, uncertain of how they will pay for their next meal.

Not long ago, Ferishta Salihi and her family had enough for a decent life. Her husband was working and earned a good salary. She could send several of her daughters to private schools, the AP reports.

But now, after her husband lost his job following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, she was lined up with hundreds of other Afghans, registering with the U.N.’s World Food Program to receive food and cash that her family desperately needs just for survival.

“We have lost everything. We’ve lost our minds,” Salihi said after her registration was complete. With her was her eldest daughter, 17-year-old Fatima, whom she had to take out of school. She can’t afford to pay the fees at a private school, and the Taliban so far are not allowing teenage girls to go to public schools.

“I don’t want anything for myself, I just want my children to get an education,” Salihi said.

In a matter of months as Afghanistan’s economy craters, many stable, middle-class families like Salihi’s have plummeted into desperation, uncertain of how they will pay for their next meal. That is one reason the United Nations is raising alarm over a hunger crisis, with 22% of the population of 38 million already near famine and another 36% facing acute food insecurity – mainly because people can’t afford food.

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