Kabul orphanage struggles to feed its children as cash runs low

Orphanages like this play an outsize role in Afghanistan, where tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in wars that have ravaged the country for more than 40 years.

The lack of funding, which has hit charities, non-governmental organisations and ordinary Afghans since the hardline Islamist Taliban movement took back control of the country, is forcing Mayan into tough choices.

The orphanage tried to send a few children back to relatives who were comparatively well off, but one by one they have returned.

Mayan said staff have had to reduce food portions and limit the types of food children eat.

“Before we were providing them twice a week fruit and twice a week meat, but we cut those items to just once a week or maybe not even (that much).”


Facing an economic crisis as winter approaches, Taliban officials have urged Western governments to resume aid donations and called on the United States to lift a block on more than US$9 billion of Afghan central bank reserves held overseas.

Many countries have refused to recognise the Taliban, who until recently were a jihadist insurgency fighting foreign troops and their Afghan allies.

Some governments are demanding that the group guarantees basic civil freedoms, including allowing girls to attend secondary school and women to work.

The Taliban, which banned all girls’ education when they ruled from 1996-2001, have said they are working on the issue.

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