Naghma, the Afghan Girl Sold to be a Child Bride

Naghma, the Afghan Girl Sold to be a Child Bride

Taj Mohammad tries hard to hold back his tears as he describes the most painful decision of his life. "I had to sell my six-year-old daughter Naghma to a relative to settle an old debt," Mr Mohammad says, staring blankly at the tattered tarpaulin roof of his small mud shelter.

Naghma, the Afghan Girl Sold to be a Child Bride

A shy girl with a smiling face, Naghma is now engaged to a boy 10 years older than her. Mr Mohammad says his daughter may have to leave for the boy's home in Helmand's Sangeen district in a year. His wife and mother-in-law sob inconsolably as they try to protect Naghma and her seven siblings from the harsh Afghan winter outside.

Naghma, the Afghan Girl Sold to be a Child Bride

Naghma is too young to understand what is happening to her "Everyone in the family is sad," says Naghma's grandmother, who was herself a child bride. "We cry. We are in pain. But what else could we do?" she asks before answering her own question. "The relatives wanted their money back. Taj couldn't pay, so he was forced to give them Naghma." Silence descends on the small, one-room dingy shelter, one of hundreds at the Qambar refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul.

The Girl's father says he has no other option. The long pause is broken by the hoarse cough of a child. "To keep my family alive, I took a loan of $2,500 [about £1,600] from a distant relative," Mr Mohammad says. Years of war and poverty forced Mr Mohammad to leave his home in the southern province of Helmand and take refuge in Qambar's mud shelters. He says he was struggling to come to terms with the loss of his three-year-old son and an uncle, both of whom died in the cold earlier this month, when the distant relative sent a message demanding his money back. "He wanted his money back.

But I couldn't pay. No-one would lend money to me," he says. "Then a relative suggested that I give my daughter in lieu of money."

Source: Naija.ng

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