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Starvation is as much a threat to Afghan women as the Taliban

10 9 0

One of the Taliban’s first acts after they swept to power in Afghanistan a month ago was to force most working women out of their jobs and into their homes.

That’s going to add to the risk of starvation facing the country after years of crop failures and the collapse of this year’s wheat harvest.

In an aid-dependent economy already in deep trouble, the sudden removal of tens of thousands of wage earners, many supporting large, extended families, only adds to the numbers facing hunger in a country where 47.3% live below the poverty line.

What happens outside the cities could be even more devastating. Women make up nearly a third of the rural labor force. Without them, the problems of a country that’s barely able to feed itself will only be compounded.

Afghan women’s number one fear is not being able to work, and losing access to education is a close second, says Heather Barr, the associate director of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch. With so many men killed in the conflict, or fleeing the country, a significant number of women have been left as both single parents and sole breadwinners supporting their parents and other relatives.

“The Taliban cutting off women’s ability to work is not about their feelings of empowerment — though this is important — it is about losing any ability to feed themselves and their family,” Barr notes.

As the........

© The Japan Times

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