Heartbreaking videos coming out of Kabul, Afghanistan show mothers sending their infant children through a crowd in the hopes of getting them onto an airplane for evacuation. In other reports, women actually attempted to throw their babies across barbed wire fences in a desperate effort to save their children from the Taliban.
Sky News’ Stuart Ramsey said that he spoke to a senior officer who explained how they were left with no choice but to place a blockade, and that they all suffer the trauma of what had to be done. He said that his soldiers cried that night as they remember babies caught on the barbed wire as mothers attempted to throw their infant children across in hopes of saving them.
Reports from Kim Sengupta of I News explain how how a similar event took place where Afghan mothers tried to throw their babies past barbed wire fences to British servicemen, but similarly, several babies did not reach the soldiers.
The Washington Post briefly describes the state of life for children during 1996 to 2001, the last period when the Taliban were in charge of Afghanistan. It tells of how children died everywhere from “preventable illnesses” in shoddy pediatric hospitals, and how mothers would be executed for minor crimes.
In November of 2001, the U.S. State Department issued a report just following the downfall of Taliban power. It describes how under the Taliban, women received “only the most rudimentary” medical and health care, and lived in constant danger. Since most hospitals were staffed by male physicians, and they could only treat a fully clothed female patient, there was no “possibility of meaningful diagnosis… treatment.” The report continues by explaining how this situation led to immense suffering and absurdly high mortality rates. Afghanistan (at the time of the report) had the second worst maternal death rate for childbirth, with 16% of women perishing during the childbearing process. The same was true for infants and for young children, with 16.5% of all children perishing before reaching their first birthday.
The most recent report from the U.N. on Children and Armed Conflict, gathered between January 2019 – December 2020, uncovered 6,470 “grave violations” of children with half of those being perpetuated by Taliban forces.
Author: Dale Chandler