As the Taliban continues door-to-door searches in a so-called “clearing operation,” poverty in Afghanistan has become so extreme that many people have sold one of their own kidneys in order to feed their families.
According to International Christian Concern, “militants are searching for weapons and people who are alleged of kidnapping and robbery but are likely looking for Afghans that had U.S. relations and those that are living contrary to their intransigent Islamic rule, such as Christians.”
The country, which Open Doors now ranks as the world’s most dangerous country for Christians, is reeling economically in the wake of the Taliban takeover and the consequent halting of international aid. The U.N. special envoy for Afghanistan reported yesterday that the country’s economy is on the brink of irreversible ruin.
Multiple news outlets have reported that many Afghan citizens are selling a kidney to provide for their families—so many that a settlement near the city of Herat has gained the nickname “One Kidney Village.”
“I had to do it to feed my children,” one man told Agence France-Presse (AFP). He said he regrets it now; he is in pain and can no longer lift anything heavy, so his 12-year-old son has become the family’s breadwinner, polishing shoes for 70 cents a day.
A mother of three said her children roam the streets begging. “If I don’t sell my kidney,” she said, “I will be forced to sell my 1-year-old daughter.”
Most countries strictly control organ transplants, but news reports say the practice is not regulated in Afghanistan. Recipients tend to be wealthy patients who come from across the country, or sometimes from India or Pakistan. One surgeon said his hospital requires consent both in writing and in a video recording, but the hospital does not investigate the backgrounds of donors or recipients. In addition, the post-surgical care and monitoring that is typical in developed countries often does not happen in Afghanistan; many donors don’t arrange for follow-up checks, one doctor told AFP.
Photo: A man who sold his kidney shows the scar from his kidney removal surgery at a settlement near Herat, Afghanistan.
Photo: Mstyslav Chernov/AP