Sleeping pills for children who have no food to help them sleep, kidneys and girls sold to feed the family. These are the stories that the BBC tells in a report from Herat. Meanwhile, Afghanistan, with its second winter under the Taliban, is plummeting towards what the UN calls a humanitarian “catastrophe”. “Our children are crying, they don’t sleep. We have no food. So we go to the pharmacy and take some tablets to give them”, says Abdul Wahab, who lives in a village of mud houses on the outskirts of Herat. With him are a dozen men nodding. One of them, Ghulam Hazrat, takes a blister pack of alprazolam out of his tunic pocket and says that he gives the pills to all of his six children, even the one-year-old. At the local pharmacy, explains the British broadcaster, you can buy five tablets with 10 afghans (10 US cents), the price of a loaf of bread.
Selling kidneys to raise money
A young man shows the scar from the removal of a kidney, which he sold three months ago for 270,000 Afghans ($3,100), money mainly used to pay off debts incurred to feed his family. In a nearby hut, a young mother also sold her kidney seven months ago, for 240,000 Afghans. But the money wasn’t enough – an old debt has to be paid for the purchase of sheep, which later died in a flood. And now he will have to sell his two-year-old daughter for 100,000 Afghans.