Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Born in Afghanistan: the worst possible start in life


girls-waterThe United Nations said last week that Afghanistan is “without doubt” the worst place in the world for a child, especially a girl, to be born.

It has the highest infant mortality rate in the world, 70 percent of Afghans have no access to clean water and hundreds of schools, mostly girls’ schools, have been attacked by Taliban or other insurgents.

Unfortunately the finding in UNICEF’s annual report on children comes as no surprise to people who live in the impoverished, war-torn country.

For many Afghans and foreigners in Afghanistan who are not living on the breadline, the little boys and girls in grubby clothes and dirty faces, who tap on their car windows, begging them for money or desperately trying to sell tattered maps and chewing gum, are such a familiar part of Afghanistan’s crumbling urban landscape that they go unnoticed or at best are avoided by wealthier passersby.