Aid Group: Women in Afghanistan Face Starvation or Suicide

While the world watches as thousands of Afghans make their way in fear and hunger to Pakistan's sealed borders, one aid group says an even worse plight awaits those left behind.

"Women who have children too young to flee or are too weak to go are faced with two choices: starvation or suicide," says Sahar Saba, a representative of one of the few aid groups to focus on the plight of Afghanistan’s women.

She said that since the United Nation's pullout from Afghanistan two weeks ago many women, particularly widows, lost their only access to food. "They are now eating grass and even that is beginning to run out," Saba said.

Of particular concern is the fate of the 30,000 widows living in the Afghan city of Kabul.

"They are not allowed to work and cannot go out without a male escort. Their husbands are dead. In the past widows had two choices. They could turn to prostitution or begging. Now even those are not options."

Saba estimated most women in these circumstances have less than a week’s worth of food.

Saba is a senior member of Revolutionary Afghan Women’s Association, which was established in Kabul in 1977 as an independent political/social organziation of Afghan women fighting for human rights and social justice in Afghanistan.

RAWA has tried, often clandestinely, to provide aid, schooling and other help to women in the impoverished country.

Some of the group’s members have taken small video cameras with them to secretly document the Taliban’s brutality toward women and operate safe house for those who escape.

Saba said her group opposes all forms of fundamentalism. She said women who have recently arrived in Pakistan have painted a picture of chaos inside the country.

"The Taliban have begun taking young men from their houses to fight," she said. "But the Taliban are scared. Most have fled the cities in anticipation of an attack.

"The mullahs do not go out on the streets anymore," she said. "We are now seeing women who ask us for guns to fight the Taliban. It is only a matter of time before people rise up. The Taliban are finished."