In the western city of Herat, a nearby area is known as “one kidney village” as Afghans are willing to sacrifice an organ to save and feed their families.
The country’s financial situation has gotten worse after the Taliban’s takeover which has left tens of thousands of Afghans, jobless, debt-ridden, and struggling.
Nooruddin, 32 told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that he quit his factory job when his salary was slashed to $30 (Rs5,323) but after he was unable to find another one, in desperation, he sold a kidney as a short term fix.
He said he regrets it now as he can no longer work. “I’m in pain and I cannot lift anything heavy”, he added. Nooruddin was among eight people AFP spoke to who had sold a kidney— some for as little as $1,500 (Rs266,175).
Shakila is a mother of two and at the age of 19, sold her kidney for $1,500 to settle the family’s debt. AFP reported that a mother-of-three Aziza was waiting for her opportunity.
Aziza said, “If I don’t sell my kidney, I will be forced to sell my one-year-old daughter.”
The practice of selling an organ is unregulated in Afghanistan. A former top Afghan surgeon stated, “There is no law to control how the organs can be donated or sold, but the consent of the donor is necessary.” He added that they never investigate how or where the patient or donor comes from because it’s not their job.
The country is in dire need of foreign aid. Last month, United States (US) President Joe Biden signed an executive order to release Afghan assets worth $7 billion but Biden split the money between humanitarian aid for war-torn Afghanistan and a fund for September 11 attacks victims.