NewsChild exploitation in Afghanistan: A 55-year-old man arrives for his 9-year-old bride

Child exploitation in Afghanistan: A 55‑year-old man arrives for his 9‑year-old bride

Afghanistan: 55-year-old came to pick up his 9-year-old wife
Afghanistan: 55-year-old came to pick up his 9-year-old wife
Images source: © X (Twitter) | CNN

11:46 AM EST, November 11, 2023

Over two years ago, global attention was heightened by the situation in Afghanistan when American troops stationed there were withdrawn. This resulted in the Taliban regaining power, which devastated the country. Chaos ensued and starvation became widespread amongst the population of approximately 15 million people. Forced by extreme poverty, families have resorted to "selling" their underage daughters to older men. A recent video has emerged showing a 55-year-old man arriving to obtain his 9-year-old "bride".

The United States and its allies withdrew from Afghanistan in August 2021. The mission initiated by NATO was concluded. It's important to note that troops first arrived in Afghanistan in 2001 following the attacks on the World Trade Center. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda, the group responsible for the attacks, were subsequently targeted by Americans and their allies.

Military forces eliminated Osama bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist organization, in Pakistan after a decade. Despite this, American forces remained in Afghanistan, contributing to relative stabilization in the country. Western countries assisted in the establishment of new Afghan political elites.

In February 2020, then-President Donald Trump agreed to the withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan with the Taliban. The operation commenced in August 2021 under the administration of the new US President, Joe Biden. In total, more than 120,000 people, including allies, were evacuated.

By August 15, the Taliban secured control over Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. With alarming speed, they reclaimed power that they had lost two decades prior. The world bore witness to the distressing scenes at Kabul Airport, where panicked civilians tried to board the departing planes. Tragically, some fell from fatal heights in the process.

The disastrous circumstances in Afghanistan

The security situation in Afghanistan has improved slightly after several unstable weeks following the evacuation. However, the return to harsh sharia laws by the new authorities has proved devastating. Women have returned to being denied access to education and employment and are required to wear burqas which entirely cover their faces in public places.

These restrictions have significantly hindered women's access to healthcare. The UN Human Rights Council reports that approximately 70 out of 1000 women die annually during pregnancy or childbirth.

Afghanistan is facing a humanitarian crisis. While allied forces were in Afghanistan, up to 80 percent of the state budget was made up of aid from Western countries. This aid was greatly diminished when the Western allies withdrew in August 2021. This led to Afghanistan's GDP plummeting by over 20 percent, and then by 2.8 percent the following year.

The UN has labeled the situation in Afghanistan as the "largest humanitarian crisis in the world". Hunger affects almost 15.3 million residents among a population of 42 million. Terrorist attacks orchestrated by the Islamic State of Khorasan Province are still rampant.

A distressing video from Afghanistan

The level of poverty in this Central Asian nation has forced many residents to extreme measures. Footage broadcast by CNN shows a 55-year-old man taking a 9-year-old child as his bride.

The girl has been sold by her parents to ensure their survival. The video shows them negotiating a deal with the older man. The girl, who appears to be crying, is brought into the room, her face covered. When the man attempts to lead her away, she breaks free.

CNN also interviewed other girls in similar situations. One admitted that she would take her life if she was sold by her parents to settle debts. The feared scenario transpired the following day.

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