Almost six years ago, American forces in conjunction with Afghan allies, swept into Afghanistan and removed the hated Taliban government. President Bush made many promises about what freedom would bring to the Taliban-free nation. After years of “freedfom,” Afghanistan is the fifth least developed nation in the world with over half its population living below the poverty level on less than $1 day. A recent story about the sale of three Afghan girls shocked may people in the world. Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC ) said the sale was merely a reflection of deep seated poverty and indicated a “serious warning about a possilble catatrophe which may affect poor Afghan children.” In January, parents sold one of their twin four month old girls for $40 and later in the month, parents of a nine-month old girl sold her for $240. News of the sales led to an outpouring of money so the children could be returned to their families.
Publicity can help a few parents, but hundreds, if not thousands, of other parents are selling children due to poverty. As of this point, Afghanistan has never passed legislation dealing with child abuse and the sale and trafficking of children. These parents were probably acting in a sincere desire to provide food for their children, but their actions merely reflect the reality of a complete failure on the part of the United States and NATO to focus on economic development in a nation in which half the population is below 18. Perhaps, a focus on more butter and fewer bullets will result in gaining support of the Afghan population.