Poverty, Violence, and Despair under the Taliban Flag: 18 People Have Committed Suicide in the Past Two Weeks

By: Amin Kawa

The country’s dire economic situation, the Taliban’s influence on social conditions, and the absence of the rule of law have pushed both men and women to consider suicide. During the Taliban’s two-year rule, the suicide rate, particularly among young women, has significantly risen. Suicide figures from the past 15 months indicate that over 175 individuals have taken their own lives in Afghanistan. Recent data collected by Hasht-e Subh Daily reveals that between June 4 and 17, 18 individuals committed suicide across 10 provinces. These statistics suggest that, on average, at least one person dies by suicide every day. In the month of Sawr (April-May), 25 individuals took their own lives. Within this data, 9 men and 9 women have permanently ended their lives for various reasons. The statistics compiled by Hasht-e Subh Daily demonstrate that in the past three months alone, 96 individuals have committed suicide in the country.

The statistics indicate that a minimum of 18 individuals have taken their own lives in the past 13 days. These incidents occurred across 10 provinces, with Ghazni, Farah, Badghis, and Bamyan witnessing the highest number of suicides during this period. The majority of those who have voluntarily ended their lives are young, ranging in age from 15 to 30 years old on average, as reported by the Hasht-e Subh Daily. Tragically, children are also among the victims of these suicide cases.

Women Who Committed Suicide in the Past 13 Days

Based on the available information, a 21-year-old young girl from Faryab province took her own life after becoming engaged to a man who is unable to speak. Local sources reported on Thursday, June 8, that this tragic incident occurred in the village of “Nodari” in the Qaisar district of Faryab province. The girl had recently become engaged to a man who works in Iran and is speech-impaired. Upon learning about her engagement, she decided to end her life.

Furthermore, on Friday afternoon, June 16, a pregnant woman named Lailema took her own life in the village of “Arzlik” within the same district by consuming rat poison. The 32-year-old woman, who was seven months pregnant at the time, reportedly resorted to suicide due to family violence. It is worth mentioning that the Qaisar district in this province has experienced the highest incidence of suicide cases in the past two years.

Statistics indicate that Badghis province has witnessed a significant number of suicides, predominantly among women. According to the reported statistics, a 22-year-old young woman took her own life on Friday, June 9, in the Qurbanbeghai area of the Qaades district within the province. Sources attribute family violence as the cause of her suicide.

The day before, a 17-year-old girl in the Aab Kamari district of the same province took her own life by hanging. The reason for her suicide is reported as forced marriage. Sources indicate that the suicide rate among women and girls in this province has risen following the return of the Taliban.

In addition, Anis Bibi, a middle-aged woman, took her own life in the Kijran district of Daykundi province. Local Taliban officials in the district announced her suicide on Monday, June 5, attributing it to family problems.

Over the past three months, several individuals have committed suicide in Jawzjan province. On Tuesday, June 13, local sources reported to the Hasht-e Subh Daily that a young girl hanged herself in the village of Shor Tapa in the Qarqin district of Jawzjan province. The motive behind her suicide remains unclear.

According to local sources in Kunduz province, a young woman committed suicide in the village of “Hamidbai” in the third division of Kunduz city. The incident occurred on Thursday night, June 8, when she hanged herself with a rope. Although the exact reason for her suicide remains undetermined, sources attributed it to family violence.

In another incident, sources report that a pregnant woman in Kabul province jumped from a tall building. The incident took place after she had intense verbal exchanges with her husband, who subsequently verbally divorced her and evicted her from the house. Tragically, she lost her life in the fall.

Men who committed suicide in the past 13 days

Within a 24-hour period on Wednesday, June 14, three men in Ghazni province took their own lives. Local sources reported to the Hasht-e Subh Daily that all three individuals were young. One young man in the Malistan district ended his life, while two others committed suicide in the Andar district. Each had different reasons for their actions. The suicide in the Malistan district was attributed to a verbal altercation with family members. On the other hand, a young person in Khan-e-Qala village of Andar district ended his life by gunshot after being forcefully engaged to a girl. Another young man in Torkiyo village of Andar district hanged himself, though the reason for his suicide remains unclear.

Furthermore, in Laala Khel village of Bamyan province, a young boy named Bismillah hanged himself on Monday, June 12. The reason for his suicide is unknown. Local Taliban officials transferred his body to the central hospital for further investigation, but no details about the incident were provided to the media.

Local sources informed the Hasht-e Subh Daily about two suicides in Herat and Zabul provinces. In the Kharwari area of Qalat City, Zabul province, a 38-year-old man hanged himself on Sunday, June 11. The motive and identity of the man remain unknown. However, the increased pressure from the Taliban and enduring unemployment have been identified as contributing factors to individuals’ suicides. The recent rise in suicides among young people reflects widespread poverty and uncertainty about the future. Additionally, on Saturday night, June 10, a young boy hanged himself in the “Mahal-e Dasht” area of the Guzara district in Herat province. The reason for his suicide is also unknown.

According to published statistics, there have been monthly suicide cases in Bamyan province over the past year. Among them, local sources reported the suicide of a child named Mohammad Elias on Saturday, June 3, to the Hasht-e Subh Daily. Sources indicate that following an argument with his mother for charging his mobile phone, he hanged himself in the Zaragaran area of the third security division in central Bamyan.

Sources reported on Thursday, June 15, that the second security division of Ghazni City transferred the body of a 13-year-old child, who was hanged in the Qala-e Tahwildar area, to the provincial hospital of Ghazni province. Preliminary examinations by doctors at the hospital suggest that the child died by suicide. The reason for their suicide is yet to be determined.

Among those who have committed suicide are religious school students who consider suicide forbidden. On Tuesday, June 13, a religious school student named Gulbuddin hanged himself in the Sang-e Aatash district of Badghis province. The reason for his suicide is unknown.

Meanwhile, some frustrated citizens, mostly women, express that they see no way out other than suicide due to the current conditions. An anonymous young girl in the report shares her thoughts, stating, “Perhaps the next person to commit suicide will be me because life has become poisonous for me. How long should I remain confined to the corner of my house? There is no hope for a better future and a more humane life.”

In their recent report, the UN Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan highlighted the increased prevalence of depression and suicidal thoughts among adolescent girls who have been denied access to education. On Thursday, June 15, Richard Benett, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, and his team released a new report on discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan. The report reveals a rise in depression and suicidal thoughts among adolescent girls who have been deprived of education. Additionally, Mr. Benett’s report indicates an increase in forced marriages, child marriages, child trafficking, and the sale of children.

In all countries around the world, suicide takes different forms. However, in Afghanistan, under Taliban rule, poverty, deprivation, severe restrictions, and the marginalization of women from public life, along with domestic violence, serve as the primary factors contributing to suicide. Psychologists identify poverty, unemployment, depression, life dissatisfaction, pervasive despair, forced and underage marriages, intense conflicts, and the loss of loved ones and relatives as significant causes of suicide in the country.