Afghanistan's children bear brunt of economic woes

STORY: It's not an infectious disease that hangs over many of the children at this hospital in Kabul.

Instead, their parents share a similar story: they couldn’t afford to feed their children properly.

And all 40 beds at the malnutrition ward are full.

Abeda is the mother of a 10-month old baby:

“We are so upset, we feel depressed, myself, his father, his sisters, we all feel very sad. My husband even said he wants to go to Iran to look for work, because he feels ashamed that he can’t afford to buy him medicine or milk. He said ‘my son is dying in front of my eyes, but I am not capable of doing anything.”

Children’s malnutrition has always been a problem in Afghanistan.

However, UNICEF Afghanistan says the situation has deteriorated over the past year under the Taliban’s rule.

The economy has collapsed and millions endure food shortages....

...after troops withdrew, and the U.S. and others cut off direct assistance that Afghanistan depended on.

Its financial and humanitarian crises have only grown worse.

Doctor Mohammad Ashraf has worked double shifts to help the growing number of patients:

“It is a fact that misery and poverty is increasing in our country day by day. The higher the poverty rates, the more malnutrition cases there are. I urge the international community and other assisting organisations to help the poor people, especially those suffering from this disease (malnutrition).”

The Taliban's treatment of girls and women is one of the main reasons why the international community refuses to recognize Afghanistan's new rulers, cutting off billions of dollars in aid and exacerbating an economic crisis.

Senior officials at several ministries said that policies regarding women were set by top leaders and declined to comment further. The Taliban leadership has said all Afghans' rights will be protected within their interpretation of sharia."

UNICEF estimated 1.1 million Afghan children under the age of 5 are expected to suffer from severe malnutrition in 2022.

This is UNICEF's chief of nutrition in the country, Melanie Galvin:

“Over the past year or so, there is no question that the number of children who are severely malnourished has doubled. And I do not see those numbers improving, I see them getting worse.”