An Afghan dad has revealed he is prepared to sell his four-year-old daughter for £420 to feed the rest of his family.
Mir Nazir, a former police officer, is one of millions in the country facing a hellish life under the Taliban.
As their country’s currency collapses and prices soar, many have resorted to selling everything they own in a bid to stay alive.
Nazir, 38, is now faced with the heartbreaking decision to sell his daughter to a childless shopkeeper in order to feed the rest of his family.
He has been bargaining with a shop owner to sell the child in the Jada-e Maiwan market in Kabul, Nazir to The Times of London.
He said: “I would prefer to die than be reduced to selling my daughter.
“But my own death wouldn’t save anyone in my family. Who would feed my other children? This isn’t about choice. It’s about desperation.”
Nazir said he cannot even afford rent let alone food after losing his job as a police officer just days before the Taliban took over, sending Afghanistan’s economy spiraling into near-record low exchange rates.
He continued: “I received an offer from a shop owner, a man I knew who had no children.”
“He offered 20,000 afghanis for my daughter Safia to live with him and start working in his shop.
20,000 afghanis are equivalent to just $230 in the US.
“But I can’t sell my daughter for that low a price, so I asked for 50,000,” he said, which would be around $580 or £420.
“We are still discussing. She may have a better future working in a shop than staying with me, and the price may save my family.”
He added that the buyer promised he could “buy her back if he later got enough money.
“We are relieved that the war and fighting have ended … but we are all facing a new enemy: poverty,” Nazir told the UK paper.
Nazir fled to Kabul with his wife and five children before the Taliban seized the capital and now works as a porter in the market but his wages are not enough to cover his rent.
He continued: “To work, without ever having enough to pay the bills, and come home to see your wife and children getting hungrier as you slide daily into worse debt without any hope that things will get better is a form of pain and worry as bad as the war.”
Nazir also told Times reporter Anthony Loyd: “Don’t think I am any different to you.
“Don’t think I didn’t love the baby child I brought into the world and have loved her ever since. Don’t think I am not distraught at the thought of selling my daughter. I just can’t see what else I can do.”
At the end of August, the United Nations’ World Food Programme warned that a third of all Afghans are going hungry and 2 million children are malnourished.
With 18.5 million people in the country relying on aid, the WFP said it was struggling to get supplies into the country.
“Over half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line, and food insecurity is on the rise, largely due to conflict and insecurity cutting off whole communities from livelihood opportunities,” WFP warned.