By Nargis Amini
Last week, Tayeba and her family of 5 didn’t have anything to eat. With a bowl in her hand, she knocked on her neighbors’ doors in Nili city, the capital of central province of Daikundi, asking for food.
The 38-year-old Tayeba, the sole provider for her four blind children and husband, is sick with spinal stenosis–back pain. Months ago, when she could afford a doctor visit, she was advised to rest.
But between taking care of each family member’s needs–like taking them to the washroom, finding food, and collecting tree branches, leaves and dry dung fuel to warm the family’s one-room mudhouse once a day, she has no time to rest.
For the past two years, since the family left their home in Miramor district and moved to the capital to live close to the aid organizations, they have survived on aid packages and occasional cash payment provided by NGOs, an assistance that disappeared for the family since the Taliban took over.
“Since the Taliban came, we haven’t received aid,” the 38-year-old Tayeba, told Rukhshana Media in a phone interview. She has taken her husband and children to any organizations she heard might provide aid. But they returned home empty-handed.
“During the [previous] government, the NGOs would distribute aid to disabled people. Since the Emirate came, we haven’t received anything,” said the 43-year-old Naser, Tayeba’s husband, who states that aid is now prioritized for displaced families, leaving behind vulnerable people, like his family.
Since the Taliban swept to power in mid-August, the economy of the country which was heavily dependent on foreign aid, is at the brink of collapse, with more Afghans losing the ability to purchase food.
According to the United Nations World Food Programme, 98 percent of Afghans do not have enough to eat, with nearly 23 million people, facing extreme levels of hunger.
Less than two weeks ago, the Taliban cabinet pledged to distribute cash for orphaned and disabled persons: 2 thousand Afghani ($20) for each orphaned child, 15 thousand Afghani ($150) for paralyzed individuals and 10 thousand Afghani ($100) for persons with any disabilities.
“We have not received any instruction on how to implement the plan,” Bakht Mohammad Haidari, the Taliban’s director for martyrs and disabled Affairs in Daikundi told Rukhshana Media, adding there are 5000 individuals with disabilities registered with the office.
Naser, Tayeba’s husband, said his 20-year-old daughter, his 18 and 15 years old sons and his toddler daughter, all depend on Tayeba for survival, but the family can’t afford to purchase Tayeba’s medicine. “My wife is the one who takes care of us. If she [dies], we won’t last either,” he said.
Tayeba, who was forced by her uncle to marry her blind cousin at age 13, said life has never been easy for her, but at least she could feed her family. “I have never seen a happy life. But I could find food for my family,” she said.