Afghan Father Forced To Sell Daughter For Food, Which Has Been A Growing Problem In Afghanistan

Parwana, 9, wearing pink, plays with friends in the displacement camp on the outskirts of Qala-e-Naw, in Afghanistan’s Badghis province. Credit: CNN

An Afghan dad, namely a nine-year-old Parwana’s father, claims he was forced to sell his beautiful little daughter as a bride to afford food for his family. CNN reports Abdul Malik, Parwana’s biological father, broke down into tears while sharing that he had to sell his child off to afford food for his family for the next coming months.

The father claimed he had been trying for months to find employment. The family was forced to borrow money from relatives, while his wife kept begging for food from other campers. An incident was reported recently, where he was forced to sell his daughter to get some financial assistance. The father was open about the matter and revealed his identity and the faces of his family. He says they have no choice, and this matter is nothing new, as many families are forced to do the same. Abdul Malik also claimed he sold his 12-year-old daughter a couple of weeks ago.

The scenes were tragic when this incident took place. The father had tears in his eyes as he gave his daughter off to a 55-year-old man with a white beard and eyebrows and said, “This is your bride. Please take care of her — you are responsible for her now, please don’t beat her. Qorban, the buyer of Parwana, claims he does not intend to marry the girl, but wants her to work in his house since she is cheap. He also said he would make sure he would not beat her and treat her like his own child.

This exchange was done for 200,000 Afghanis, who were in sheep, land, and a little cash to Parwana’s father. This amount will provide food and shelter to the family only for the next few months. Qorban paid the amount, gripped the girl’s arm, and led her out of the house while leaving the child’s father behind, ridden with guilt and helplessness. Parwana tried her best to dig her feet in the dirt and not go with the man, but futile. She was dragged into the car and forcefully taken away against her wishes.

Parwana Malik, 9, and her father Abdul, in their home at a camp for internally displaced people in Afghanistan’s Badghis province.

The poor bright child with rosy cheeks that used to be playing outside with other children claimed she had been hoping to change her parent’s minds, but to no avail. She had big dreams and hoped to become a teacher one day. Stories like Parwana’s are not new anymore. Even though marrying off kids below 15, even in Afghanistan, is illegal. It is a common practice that starts to rise even more after the Taliban’s takeover.

More than half of the families are forced to take such steps because of desperation and the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. About 3 million kids under 5 suffer from malnutrition, while food prices are on the rise with every passing day and brutal winter days coming ahead. According to the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, almost 677,000 people have been homeless and helpless, and are forced to live in small huts and tents, just like Parwana’s family. And just like her, there are endless innocent little girls forced to go through such a brutal incident.

It is no surprise what might be waiting ahead for a girl like Parwana. Her father says the buyer claims he will keep her as a worker, but he is well aware that he has no say about what is done to his child now. As the cold days are approaching and the money from Parwana’s sale will eventually run out, the father fears he will be forced to sell his 2-year-old daughter too.

Afghanistan needs aid, with the country’s economy collapsing, but international funding authorities are reluctant, given the situation and lack of trust in the Taliban as leaders.

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