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Girls the 'biggest losers' after a year of Taliban rule in Afghanistan

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By Ben Turner
A girl carries breads on her head as she walks in the snow, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022.
A girl carries breads on her head as she walks in the snow, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022.   -   Copyright  Credit: AP

Girls are bearing the biggest brunt of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, according to a new report by Save the Children. 

Nearly a year since the group swept back to power, young girls are more likely than boys to be isolated, hungry and depressed, research shows. 

Save the Children found that almost half of girls in Afghanistan are not attending school, compared with 20% of boys. 

It also found that a quarter of girls showed signs of depression compared with 16% of boys. 

“Girls are bearing the brunt of the deteriorating situation", said Chris Nyamandi, Save the Children Country Director in Afghanistan. 

Nyamandi added: "They’re missing more meals, suffering from isolation and emotional distress and are staying home while boys go to school. 

"This is a humanitarian crisis, but also a child rights catastrophe."

Save the Children found that an economic crisis, drought, and new Taliban restrictions on schooling for girls have "shattered girls' lives". 

The charity said girls it had interviewed reported an increase in demand for child marriages to help improve their family's financial situation. 

The Taliban came to power last August after leading an offensive across Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US troops from the country. 

Nyamandi urged the international community to provide humanitarian funding to Afghanistan to improve the situation for the country's children. 

He said: "The solution cannot be found in Afghanistan alone. The solution lies in the corridors of power and in the offices of our global political leaders. 

"If they don’t provide immediate humanitarian funding and find a way to revive the banking system and support the spiralling economy, children’s lives will be lost, and more boys and girls will lose their childhoods to labour, marriage and rights violations.”