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In Afghanistan, some sell their kidney for food

In Afghanistan, some sell their kidney for food

Ground Report | New Delhi: Afghanistan people sell kidney; Afghanistan continues to sink into horror. Since the departure of the United States and the capture of Kabul by the Taliban on August 15, 2021, an unparalleled economic and social crisis has descended on the country. 

Afghanistan people sell kidney

In one case, three brothers and their two sisters told us that they sold their organs for around £1,150 each to buy food for the rest of the family. We have sat down with a mother in mourning for her young son who died of hunger. We have heard several parents tell us how they are now resorting to selling their children.

For years, Ali Reza’s job at a local salt factory in Mazar-e Sharif, in northern Afghanistan, brought him more than $150 a month, enough to support seven people in his household.

But after the Taliban took the city on August 14, a day before they reclaimed Kabul, everything changed. In a matter of weeks, the city, once a hub for local and global business, has become a hub for the evacuation of vulnerable Afghans.

Thousands of people were leaving the country from Mazar daily. Among them were the same businessmen who had helped maintain the city’s status as the economic center of northern Afghanistan.

As business owners fled the country, their offices, factories and stores began closing their doors, many without warning, leaving tens of thousands of people without a reliable income. The salt factory where Ali Reza worked for years was one of the first businesses to close once the owner fled the country shortly after former President Ashraf Ghani fled and the Taliban took control of the government in Kabul.

“A cheap kidney”

Some very poor families resolve to sell their little girls to recover some money for food and heating. This is the case of Delaram Rahmati, in his fifties who says he was forced to sell two of his daughters, aged six and eight, for 100,000 Afghanis, or just under a thousand dollars each. She lives with her sick husband and children in a mud hut covered with a plastic roof in a slum in Herat. One of his sons is paralyzed, the other mentally ill. 

A local resident, Abdulkadir, 38, said he only drank tea and ate dry bread. He said that he has no money to go to the hospital. “I went to the hospital to sell one of my kidneys for 150,000 Afghans (about $1,457). The doctors told me that if they operated on me and removed my kidney, I would die. “However, I want to sell my kidney. Our economic situation is so bad that I am ready to sell one of my sons for 150,000 Afghans. So I want to save other members of my family.”

More than half of the 40 million Afghans face “extreme levels of hunger, and nearly 9 million of them are at risk of starvation,” reports the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. For many of them, the only way to get money to eat is to sell one of their organs.

The town of ‘one kidney’

A few years ago, a village on the outskirts of Herat, Se Shanba Bazar, became locally known as “the one kidney village” because many people there had become kidney donors.

Officially, in the last five years, 250 kidney transplants have taken place in the province of Herat, but the real figure could be much higher. “Recently, the number of people who want to sell their kidneys has increased in Herat and many of them are living in camps for displaced people in the slums. Clients go to these camps to find a cheap kidney,” explains a hospital doctor in Herat.

In 2021, Tolo News reported that, since 2016, at least 200 kidneys it was illegally sold every year in Herat province. At the time, donors were receiving more than $3,200.

Until last year, the main reason people sold their kidneys was poverty caused by the 20-year war. Today, according to interviews, the main cause has been the twin crisis of unemployment and access to cash that has occurred since the Taliban takeover. One difference, people said, is that women now come forward as donors.

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