KABUL: Families in Afghanistan are selling children and their kidneys as half the population has difficulty acquiring basic food needs.
For many years people in Afghanistan have been selling human organs to get food. Taliban takeover of the country made the lives even worse.
Thousands of Afghans, mostly Pashtuns, were expelled from their homes due to a drought in 4 years and conflicts between the Taliban and the previous government in the Shahr-i Sebz region, 12 miles from Herat, are persist in life.
House is made of clay and mud with no electricity, heating system or even water in the region. During the winter, the condition gets worse as most houses do not even have a stove. Residents usually burn plastic or other things instead of coal to keep themselves warm.
Abdulkadir, 38, said he only drinks tea and eats dry bread.
He said he did not have the money to go to the hospital.
“I sold one of my kidneys for 150,000 Afghanis (around $1,457) at the hospital. I was told I would die if I had surgery to remove my kidney. Nevertheless, I wish to sell it. We are in such a bad economic situation that I am willing to sell one of my children for $150,000. As a result of this, I want to save other members of my family.”
The locals complain that there are not enough jobs in the area. Some teenagers and adults are begging downtown and picking up plastic and paper from the trash. Wool brought by merchants is spun by local women as well. The maximum earnings per day are 50-100 Afghanis (about $0.50-$1.00).
Having sold a kidney before, Gulbuddin, 38, cannot do any physical work right now.
During his wife’s illness and financial struggle, he sold his 12-year-old daughter Ruziye three years ago for $3,500 and a kidney for $2,000 two years ago.
Raciye, his 5-year-old daughter, was sold last year for $1,500, and he added, “I can sell my eye if someone wants it to help my wife.”
A 30-year-old mother of four living with her 70-year-old father said: “I sold my kidney.”. One of her daughters was then sold. From the proceeds, she bought the materials for her home. It would have been better not to be born into this world. It would have been better not to be born into this world. My days are miserable. I have to endure it.”
She said she did not know the price of her kidney and that she had only been given 50,000 Afghanis (about $486).
The 25-year-old soldier Gulamhazret also said that his four-month-old baby died of malnutrition and cold. The baby was buried in a cemetery near the family’s home before being taken to the hospital.
Having sold his daughter for $3,000 two years ago, he said: “I am a father.”. “We would never sell our children.”.
Afghans seeking kidneys for sale go from hospital to hospital looking for patients willing to take them.
According to Dr Hosal Tufan of one of Kabul’s largest hospitals, more than 200 people have applied and offered their kidneys for sale in the past five years.
It is impossible to perform kidney transplants on those who sell their kidneys, Tufan said.
It is almost as if Afghanistan has an industry dedicated to kidneys. Herat and Kabul are two provinces central in the trade of kidneys. In each province, kidney transplants are performed at two private hospitals. People from neighbouring countries such as Iran and Turkmenistan come to Herat looking for kidneys for this reason.
Clinics accept kidney donations from Afghans. Hospitals complete kidney transplant surgeries after legal procedures are completed.
Taliban law to ban kidney trade
In the last six years, one of the private hospitals has performed over 100 kidney transplants, the hospital director said on condition of anonymity.
Before kidney transplantation, there wasn’t even a proper procedure applied and followed. With law published on Jan. 16, the Taliban government banned kidney transplants from unrelated donors,” the director said.
He said the law intends to prevent kidney trade and ensure that organ transplants are done under strict control.
Herat’s culture and information director and Taliban provincial spokesperson, Mevlevi Naimullah Hakkani, said they opposed selling children and organs. He said people usually make such statements to attract humanitarian aid and improve their financial situation.
Boys working in jobs such as shining shoes in the city or collecting plastic and paper from the trash bring home a small amount of money in Afghan families battling hunger and misery.
Some families, however, want to sell their daughters because they cannot afford to maintain the home. Due to this, little girls are often sold for marriage throughout the country. When girls are sold, they can stay with their families until they are 11 or 12. A girl of this age is forced into marriage with a man who buys her.
In the aftermath of the Taliban takeover, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Federal Reserve cut off Afghanistan’s access to international funds.
Afghanistan is experiencing alarming levels of unemployment, poverty, and hunger.