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Xinhua, November 9, 2011

War-shattered Afghan women live on alms

Fatima is not alone that the endemic war has swallowed her family, forcing her to bear the burden of daily life to survive

By Abdul Haleem

An Afghan woman begs along a busy Kabul street in February 2009
An Afghan woman begs along a busy Kabul street in February 2009. As Barack Obama escalates American involvement in Afghanistan, human rights and civil rights there collapse, begging the question: what are western soldiers dying for? (Photo: Paula Bronstein / Getty Images)

In many countries, including Afghanistan, begging has been regarded as a taboo, but in this war- ravaged and poverty-stricken country, many people including women has adopted begging as a profession to support their families.

"Continued conflicts have destroyed my life, claimed the life of my husband and forcing me to beg for alms in order to survive," 56-year-old Bibi Fatima told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Collecting money and meat from affluent families on Eidul Adha holidays -- the Muslims' largest annual religious festival, falling on Nov. 6-8, the dejected Fatima said she could collect some 10kg mutton and beef on the first day of Eidul Adha.

During Eidul Adha holidays, Muslims across the world sacrifice animals and distribute meat to needy people.

Walking with the help of a stick and carrying a sack on her back, the aged and feeble woman said she has "no option but to beg. "

Revealing her ordeal, Fatima said, "The cruel war left all members of the family including my husband dead in Mazar-e-Sharif city 13 years ago."

Wiping out the tears of her eyes, Fatima said, the tale of her pain is too tragic to speak, adding "pain is felt by those who burn in flame" and walked away without speaking more.

In the male-dominated Afghan society, the protracted war has often claimed the lives of men who are the bread earners of their families.

The legacy of war is tangible almost in each corner of the war- ravaged Afghanistan. Even in the capital city Kabul, dozens of street children and women with grim faces and grimy clothes are seen begging to support their families.

Fatima is not alone that the endemic war has swallowed her family, forcing her to bear the burden of daily life to survive.

Another woman Muzhgan, 31, was seen wandering around wealthy communities on Eidul Ahda holidays to collect donations.

"I have no choice but to beg and support my children to live and let them go to school," Mughgan, who lost her husband in a suicide bombing in Kabul three years ago said in a brief chat.

"This is not the life to live on begging. I really hate it, it is a taboo act. To support my children and to survive, unfortunately I have no option but to beg," Muzhgan went on to say in an unhappy mode.

Category: Women, HR Violations, Poverty - Views: 12294



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