Poor Afghan women beg for bread at bakeries to survive

Written by The Frontier Post

KABUL (Pajhwok): Following the regime change in Afghanistan, poverty has risen to the point where dozens of women line up in front of bakeries in capital Kabul daily to beg for bread and keep their children alive. Pajhwok Afghan News correspondent in various parts of the city conducted interviews with a number of bakery owners and women who stand in front of bakeries, all of whom complained of poverty and misery and said that the only way to survive is begging.
To save our children, we have no choice but to line up in front of bakeries: Sepna, a resident of CharahiQambar area of Kabul, is a widow who begs daily for survival of her six children. “I beg every day, but often no one gives me money. I stay in front of bakery until late evening so someone donate me some bread because my children stay hungry during night, I do it due to my obligation.” “My husband was a policeman who had died. I used to work in the house of a businessman who, after the fall of the previous government, fled Afghanistan,” she said. Sepna is not the only one standing in front of the bakery to save her children, several other women are sitting next to her, waiting for someone to buy bread for them.
Banafshah, a resident of Kota-i-Sangi area of Kabul, wearing a black chador, was sitting in front of a bakery in the second police district of Kabul with other poor women to find some bread to feed her children. “I come here before 5pm and stay here until 7pm until I get 10 bread then I go home,” she said. Banafshah, who is the only breadwinner in her family of ten, says her husband is handicapped and unable to work.
“My children stay hungry for days because no one donates to the poor, it was good in the previous government, people lived well. But now people face with bad situation, I am obliged to come to the bakery,” she said. She hoped that the international community and charities would begin their emergency assistance to Afghans suffering from serious economic problems before winter arrives to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan. “I ask the Islamic Emirate to improve the situation in Afghanistan, to make it easier for men and women to work, so that no family complain of poverty and begging,” Banafshah said.
Bakery owners say number of baggers increased: Suhrab, owner of one of bakeries in Dahan-i-Bagh area of Kabul city, said, “Before the fall of (Ashraf) Ghani government, a few beggars used to come every day, but now you can see they stand in lines in front of every bakery.” “We bake bread three times a day, and we will definitely help them once in three times. There are also other good people who donate bread to these beggars,” he said.
He called on charity organizations, the government and the international community to take urgent action to reduce poverty in Afghanistan by sending urgent aid. Sobhanallah, a baker in Kabul’s Parwan-i-Dwom area, also said that dozens of women line up in front of their bakery every day so they are donated some bread. “Every day in our bakery, 30 to 40 women sit in line to get some bread,” he said. “We help each of them with a few loaves of bread, something we can do, most of these women are poor and widowed.”
He termed the ongoing situation worrisome and said: “The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating with each passing day, all people earn only enough to feed themselves, there was poverty in the previous government and women used to come here, but it is getting serious now.” “Our request to the Islamic Emirate is to help all the poor and needy people and create jobs,” he said. He called on the international community and aid organizations to provide urgent aid to those in need in Afghanistan to help prevent deterioration of economic problems. After the fall of the previous regime on August 15, a large number of government and non-government employees lost their jobs, and the salaries of most government employees and non-government institutions are unpaid. Aside from these problems, the international community also stopped its aid and the United States froze Afghanistan’s assets that created serious economic problems in the country.

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The Frontier Post