Afghanistan is starving. The country is in the grips of what the United Nations says is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. An estimated 90% of its households don’t have enough food to eat, and as CBS News correspondent Imtiaz Tyab reports, the country’s youngest are among those suffering the most. Malnourished infants from across Afghanistan are brought to Kabul’s Indira Ghandi children’s hospital for specialized treatment. One mother there told Tyab that her 4-month-old son Murtaza weighed just six-and-a-half pounds. Hunger has plagued Afghanistan for decades, but since the Taliban’s takeover one year ago, things have gone from bad to catastrophic.
With the extremist group running the country, the Biden administration has frozen billions of dollars in Afghan national bank assets. International donors, who’d funded almost 80% of the country’s economy, have pulled their financial support. Those moves were all aimed at depriving the terror group of cash, and foreign governments and organizations continue to withhold the money, pointing to the Taliban’s dramatic crackdown on basic freedoms and its brutality. But Afghan doctors tell CBS News it’s the Afghan people who are paying the price, not the Taliban. “One or two malnourished children die here every day,” one doctor told Tyab. In the Taliban’s Afghanistan, hunger stalks nearly every street.
The number of people waiting outside bakeries, hoping for handouts of bread, grows by the day. Each loaf costs just 11 cents, but even that’s too expensive for Najibullah, who told CBS News he works as a day laborer. Lately, he said work has been hard to come by. Asked if the Taliban, in their year in power, had offered him any help, he told Tyab he hadn’t “received a penny from them.” “It’s terrible,” he said. “It’s a slow death for us. Life is not worth living when there’s no food and no work.”
As the sun set, a local resident offered to buy bread for the dozens of men and women who had been waiting outside the bakery. The total cost wasn’t more than a few dollars, but for everyone there, it meant that they and their families wouldn’t go to bed with completely empty stomachs. At least not on that one night. Aid is still coming into Afghanistan, but nothing like it did before the U.S. withdrawal, and by no means enough to end what the U.N. calls a “pure catastrophe.”