Two children, two deaths a day apart in one district in Kapisa

Two children died in the same district of Kapisa province on the weekend and while their deaths occurred a day apart, they serve to highlight the capricious nature of life and death that is ever-present in Afghanistan.  

Both deaths occurred in Tagab district. On Sunday, a Taliban gunman was speeding on his motorcycle when he ran over an eight-year-old girl in Shahikhel village, a resident tells Zan Times. The child was so seriously injured that she died a few minutes later.  

Another resident, who asked not to be identified, says that the gunman, identified as Hafizuhllah, fled the scene. He was identified as Hafizuhllah and is a resident of Shulti village in the same district.  

The Taliban media office in Kapisa confirmed the fatal accident, announcing that the motorcycle rider had been arrested. Residents fear nothing will happen and the Talib will eventually be released. Recently, a pickup truck operated by another Taliban member ran over a nine-year-old boy named Adel in the same district. Though Adel died of his wounds, the Taliban took no legal action against the driver.  

That helplessness is echoed in the death of a 14-year-old student in Saidkhel village in the same district. “The teenager hanged himself from a pomegranate tree around 8 p.m. on Saturday,” residents tell Zan Times. He died on the way to hospital.  Another source identified the teen as Faiz Mohammad and said that he had mental health issues. In a press release, Taliban police confirmed the suicide of the teenager and said that they would investigate. 

The suicide rate among children is on the rise since the Taliban took over. Security problems, poverty, unemployment, family pressures, forced and underage marriages, patriarchy in families, drug addiction, and continuous war, are among the leading causes of mental illnesses in Afghanistan. Not only are many families having to decide between feeding themselves or seeking mental health for their children, but many agencies that used to provide help have closed in the past year.  

In October, the non-profit Save the Children reported that “Afghanistan is on the brink of a mental health catastrophe as the economic crisis and decades of conflict take a dangerous toll on children’s mental and psychosocial wellbeing.” According to the report, 4.5 million children and adults in Afghanistan need psychotherapy and support but only around 1.3 million were able to access any services at all. 

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