When the Taliban first fell in 2001, foreigners could travel freely to anywhere in Afghanistan, Anna Badkhen, a reporter for the Financial Times says. Today, it’s not the same and the population in Northern Afghanistan is not as hopeful about their future. Despite donations and contributions from the U.S., not much money or aid has made its way out of Kabul. Badkhen sites a village with infrastructure that is abandoned. There is a health clinic (with no doctor), a school (with no teacher), and a playground that no one uses. Another town was flooded, all the homes were destroyed, and the government only came to help once, and only distributed loaves of bread.
Barakat’s programs and schools in Afghanistan are concentrated in the Northern regions, in towns just like these. The problem of land use that Badkhen talks about applies to the families of our students as well. Salty soil not only affects agriculture, but also drinking water. The water is simply too salty to drink. Compounding daily survival issues like these is the growing threat of insurgents. The northern areas of Afghanistan are not used to this threat, since the Taliban has largely operated only in Southern Afghanistan in the past. These major humanitarian issues need to be addressed before Afghanistan can move forward. Without basic necessities such as drinking water and healthcare, there can be no progress and no improvement in the quality of life. Like the people Badkhen spoke with said, “Do we need this playground if our children are dying?”