What have you planned for July? Holidays, quiet work? The camp for children? Afasana is getting married, says El País. Her father explained to her that she was going to live a fairy tale and that her future husband was a kind of prince charming. She is also 25, which is the right age for a prince.
But Afasana is not very happy. She tries to force a smile and says: “At least I’ll eat twice a day.”
Afasana is 8 years old. By the end of the month it will have been sold to a stranger 17 years older than her, who bought it for the equivalent of 2,300 euros. Her father, Yasee, is not very proud: “Of course I didn’t want to do it, but since the Taliban arrived, I’ve lost my job as a street sweeper. We had to leave Kabul for this isolated area of Kandahar province, where one of my uncles and his family lived. I should have found work in the opium poppy plantations, but the regime has decreed that this will be the last harvest and there is hardly any need for day laborers. Without money, we had no other solution. “
Yasee says several suitors have come forward and he has taken the best. He is not too old, he comes from a good family and makes sure that the little one can go to school. “We are all sad; Afasana cries every night. Everything will be fine, God willing. “
Given the mood of women and girls in Afghanistan since the rise of the Taliban, it seems that God has his head elsewhere, and life does not seem to be going well for Afasana, who is likely to face chain rape and serial pregnancy to death. , in a country where women have almost no official existence other than that which allows them to be used and punished, and where they are reduced to the status of ‘object.
Since the US withdrawal in August 2021, the international community has frozen aid funds which accounted for more than 75 percent of the country’s revenue. The consequences are devastating in a place marked by twenty years of conflicts, droughts, winter floods, famines, not to mention, at the end of June, an earthquake that caused the death of more than a thousand people. According to the United Nations, the country is devastated by an unprecedented famine and starving Afghans have gone from 14 million in July 2021 to 23 million in March 2022.
Sold for 3 years
Afasana plays with Afshin, a 3 year old girl. She too has been sold, but she still doesn’t know it. Her father explains that he has contracted debts and is threatened with death if he does not pay them. She owes him the equivalent of 4,700 euros. So he decided to sell one of her daughters.
Arranged marriages have long been a common practice in many parts of Afghanistan. The family sells the girl very young and, at best, she doesn’t leave her family until she is 15. However, according to the UN, 28% of them are delivered earlier. The sale of children, including boys, was already underway before the arrival of the Taliban. In the Afasana community, several children are for sale to the highest bidder.
The Qurban family lives in the nearby Helmand province. Rasua goes out to light the fire to heat a pot of “aush goshti” (tomato soup). Afzal, her 4-year-old daughter, appears and dips a piece of bread into her pan, which she eats while she is sitting next to her father. “I was in too much debt, I couldn’t paybegins to tell. One day my boss came and chose the most beautiful. He’ll be coming to get her soon. It is only a matter of time.”
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