Afghanistan’s Dying Mothers

In Afghanistan, a woman dies of pregnancy-related causes every 27 minutes – and perhaps even more frequently, because many such deaths go unrecorded. The problem is not only inadequate healthcare, but also a culture in which discrimination against women begins at birth, and in which women themselves regard their suffering as unavoidable.

Roughly 75% of Afghan newborns that die do so because of lack of food, warmth, and care. Unloved little girls fare the worst. In Afghanistan as a whole, a woman dies of pregnancy-related causes every 27 minutes – and perhaps even more frequently, because many such deaths go unrecorded. Many, perhaps most, are under sixteen years of age.

The Taliban – blamed nowadays for just about all of Afghanistan’s ills – have officially been gone for nearly seven years, so why are conditions still so abysmal?

In Kabul and Herat, mobile phones abound, a tooth-eroding concoction called “Afghan Cola” is sold, the Internet works (sometimes), there are ATM machines, sophisticated heroin laboratories, four-wheel drive vehicles, five-star hotels, ads for private banks – all the trappings of globalized modernity. Yet so many women die like flies, in pools of blood and deep-rooted indifference.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/OOn921K;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.