World News

Afghans marry off baby girls for dowries as starvation looms

Jobless and engulfed in debt, Afghan brick kiln worker Fazal said the country’s imploding economy had left him with a stark choice – marry off his young daughters, or risk the family starving to death. Last month, he received a $3,000 dowry payment after handing over his 13- and 15-year-old daughters to men more than twice their age. If the money runs out, he may have to marry off his seven-year-old, he said.

I had no other way to feed my family and pay off my debt. What else could I have done?” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from the Afghan capital, Kabul. “I desperately hope I won’t have to marry off my youngest daughter.

Child marriage has increased in tandem with soaring poverty since the Taliban seized power 100 days ago on August 15, with reports of destitute parents even promising baby girls for future marriage in exchange for dowries, women’s rights activists said. They predicted the rate of child marriage – which was prevalent even before the Taliban’s return – could nearly double in the coming months.

“It paralyses (my) heart hearing these stories … It’s not a marriage. It’s child rape,” said prominent Afghan women’s rights campaigner Wazhma Frogh. In northwest Afghanistan, she said another man had left his five children at a mosque because he could not feed them. The three girls, all thought to be under 13, were wed the same day.

The number of cases has increased so much because of starvation. People have nothing and cannot feed their children,” said Frogh, founder of the Women & Peace Studies Organization, which works with grassroots women leaders across the country.

It’s completely illegal, and not allowed in religion,” she added. UNICEF said it had started a cash assistance programme to help cut the risks of hunger and child marriage, and was liaising with religious leaders to stop ceremonies involving underage girls.

Before the Taliban took over, the legal minimum marriage age was 16 for girls – below the internationally recognised minimum of 18. The Taliban say they only recognise Sharia law which does not stipulate a minimum age, leaving it open to interpretation.

Source: Reuters

In other news – He didn’t want to see me on top,’ Somizi calls out Mohale

Media personality Somizi Mhlongo has thrown a shade at estranged husband Mohale Motaung, accusing him of not wanting to see him on top.


It seems the former lovebirds do not see each other eye to eye. Somizi set up businesses for Mohale, including their renowned Somhale company where his husband was CEO. Learn more

Back to top button