The child trash collectors of Kabul

Afghanistan child garbage picker (Wakil Kohsar:AFP:Getty Images) Apr 13 2015

The media caption to this photo read: “A young rubbish collector works at a dump site” in Kabul, Afghanistan. In fact, he’s a kid, a young boy & he’s not a scavenger looking for recyclables but a rubbish collector for the city.

What the caption editor should have said is: “This is emancipation US-style. Child labor has increased under the US-NATO occupation of Afghanistan & now tens of thousands of kids as young as six work under dangerous conditions in coal mines, brick factories, construction, carpet weaving, begging, & in toxic dump sites.”

But the plot sickens from there. After 30 years of constant war & occupation, Afghanistan’s infrastructure was in ruins & one of the most pressing problems was solid waste management. From the US-NATO occupation in 2001 to 2004, Kabul, the largest city in Afghanistan, had grown from one million to four million people. The UN reported the growth as returning refugees & “new urban dwellers.” “New urban dwellers” must be a coy way of saying those thousands of rural Afghans fleeing US-NATO bombing in the countryside as well as the armies of NGO & military personnel swarming like predatory locusts into the country.

UN-Habitat, the agency dealing with urban development, boasted they handed a grant of over $840,000 from the World Bank to the municipality of Kabul to develop a waste management program. They claimed the program cleared mountains of accumulated waste from dump sites around the city. USAID also reported funding a waste management program for the municipality including logistical assistance–first in 2004 to 2007 & again in 2010 to 2013. Now this is quite disturbing because it suggests (actually it confirms what we already knew) that the US as well as the UN & World Bank are aware children are employed in a dangerous occupation where they are susceptible to disease, not to mention vermin.

The more we know about the war in Afghanistan, the more we understand it must be actively opposed.

US out of Afghanistan! US out of Iraq!

(Photo by Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

Leave a Reply