At least 169 orphans were displaced and live in uncertainty following the closure of three orphanages in three northern provinces of Afghanistan, sources said.
The orphanages in Sar-e-Pul, Samangan, and Faryab provinces were closed due to lack of funding after the Taliban’s takeover of the country. The orphans were handed over to their relatives most of whom are unable to provide food and clothes or send them to school.
The families and relatives of the orphans demanded the reopening of the orphanages
Sources said 60 orphans in Sar-e-Pul, 79 in Samangan and 30 in Faryab were displaced from the mentioned orphanages. All were boys.
Ghulam Mohmmad, a 63-year-old grandfather, said his three orphan grandchildren lived in Samangan orphanage after their fathers were killed.
One of Mohammad’s sons, a soldier of the former government, was killed in fighting against the Taliban, and the second one died in a suicide attack. One left behind two children and the other left one. All three were living in the orphanage but they were handed over to Mohammad nine months ago.
“I cannot take care of their children,” he said about his slain sons’ children.
Mohammad, whose two sons were killed by the Taliban, said he doesn’t seek vengeance and forgive the killers of his sons but he requests the reopening of the orphanages so his three grandchildren can live, and eat there.
“I cannot make enough money to feed them,” he added.
Sayed Omar, one of Mohammad’s grandchildren, said he lived in the orphanage for two years.
“The services and facilities in the orphanage were good,” he said. “But after the Taliban took power, the Aibak orphanage was not even able to provide food, so all orphans were told to leave.”
Aikab is the capital city of Samangan province.
Javed Ahmad, another orphan, said he has been living with an aunt after he was displaced from Sar-e-Pul orphanage.
“I don’t eat enough food, and I also don’t have proper clothes,” ۱۱-year-old Ahmad said. “My aunt’s family is poor, what they earn they spend to feed their own children.”
Mohammad Nabi, another 12-year-old orphan who lives with his uncle after the closure of Sar-e-Pul orphanage, said he was “worried” about his “survival” and “future.”
The Taliban confirmed the closure of the orphanages in Sar-e-Pul and Samangan provinces, saying they have contacted international organizations to provide funding, so they can open them again.
A source, working in Faryab orphanage, said 90 orphans lived there before the Taliban, but 79 were handed over to their families. Only 11 live there now, according to him.
The only government-run orphanage in Ghor was also closed due to lack of funding after the Taliban takeover, displacing 187 orphans, most of whom are working hard labor jobs in the streets of Firozkoh city.
Afghanistan plunged into one of the worst economic depressions following the Taliban’s return to power. Up to two thirds of the country’s population of around 39 million people don’t have enough food to eat. Millions of children are starving.