Poverty in Afghanistan: Child Labor Increased in Baghlan after Taliban Takeover

Baghlan Residents are worried about children being forced to work hard on the streets of Pul-e-Khumri, saying that hundreds of children are working on the streets due to poverty. Local Taliban officials in Baghlan, however, say their government cannot manage the situation.

Ataullah, a resident of Baghlan who has been running a shop in Pul-e-Khumri for ten years, says people’s lives are getting harder. According to him, poverty forced families to send their children to work on the streets. He adds with concern that the number of working children in the market is increasing every day.

Hussainullah, an 11-year-old boy, has dropped out of school for a month while working in a wheelbarrow in Pul-e-Khumri. He says that his father also has a wheelbarrow. Due to financial difficulties, he has been forced to take a wheelbarrow and provide alimony for his family often.

Working Child in the streets of Baghlan province

“If my family’s economy were good, my only wish would have been to go to school,” said Hussainullah, a child who drives a wheelbarrow with difficulty. “I would like to go to school and study.”

Ashiqullah is another child who has a bitterer story than Hussainullah. He says he has been selling envelopes on the streets of Pul-e-Khumri for five years, spinning his family’s economic wheel with his daily income of about 70 afghanis.

It can be seen that the political situation in the country has increased poverty. Families have been forced to deprive their children of education and send them to the city to find a piece of bread.

Yagam Birdi is a resident of Baghlan who works hard from dawn to dusk in the city of Pul-e-Khumri with his half-height children. He sells soup in Pul-e-Khumri Square and is worried about his nine-year-old son. Birdi says that his young son has been forced to sell plastic on the roads due to extreme poverty. “It used to be a bustling market, and the soup market was booming,” said the man who forced his nine-year-old son to work. “But now the market is in recession, and I had to bring my half-grown son to the market to work.”

Child labor increased in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province.

Concerned about his son, he says he cannot take care of his children’s education. According to Yagam Birdi, with the income he has, he can only make a living today and tomorrow.

Yagam Birdi blames poverty for the rise of child labor, saying that recent developments have forced people to send their children to work in the city to find a piece of bread.

After three-and-a-half months since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, child labor in Baghlan province has seemingly increased unprecedentedly.

Working Child in the streets of Baghlan province/ Photo by Mehrabuddin Ebrahimi

However, officials in the Department of Labor and Social Affairs of Baghlan Province, without providing any statistics, confirm the increase in child labor in the province due to poverty. But they say their plans are not comprehensive enough to control the situation. They call on aid agencies to cooperate more with them in this regard.

On the other hand, local Taliban officials in Baghlan say that they will launch programs on the situation of children with the Baghlan Department of Labor and Social Affairs soon.