Millions of children in Afghanistan are in dire need of food aid, the United Nations Children’s Fund warned on Thursday, while the agency faces a lack of funding.
“Today, an estimated 90% of Afghans are on the brink of poverty. Children bear the brunt of it. 2.3 million children are expected to face acute malnutrition in 2023. 875,000 of them need treatment for severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening condition,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference in New York, the UNICEF Afghanistan Representative Fran Equiza said that this year around 840,000 pregnant women and “breastfeeding mothers are likely to experience acute malnutrition.”
This comes as the Islamic Emirate said that the economic challenges are due to the imposition of sanctions on Afghanistan.
“The imposition of pressure is by the countries that talk about human rights, then they make such reports as well. They are directly involved in poverty and problems of the people of Afghanistan,” he said.
Equiza said that the Afghan “children's right to learn is under attack” and that the girls across Afghanistan have been denied their right to learn for over three years.
“First, due to COVID-19 and then since September 2021, because of the ban on attending secondary school,” he said.
According to Equiza, preliminary data suggests that between January and March this year, 134 children were either killed or maimed by explosive devices and also "approximately 1.6 million children are trapped in child labor."
This comes as the Islamic Emirate’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said the education of girls is important and stressed that the relevant entities should pay attention to this issue.
“The relevant organizations are working in this regard. There is a hope that the solution for this problem will be found soon and it should be solved so our children learn and the ground is paved for this,” he said.
Since the Islamic Emirate swept into power, girls in grade 7-12 have been banned from school.
Last December, the Islamic Emirate in a separate order banned female students from going to universities.
“We call on the interim government and Islamic Emirate to reopen the doors of schools for girls soon because women and girls contribute half of the society and it has been nearly two years that we have been deprived of education,” said Bahara Rahimi, a student.
“Education and work are fundamental rights. Every member of society, both men and women, should have it,” said Suraya Paikan, a women’s rights activist.
The Islamic Emirate has repeatedly said that work is underway to form a plan for the reopening of girls' schools.