Jamal said he was once beaten up by some Taliban soldiers for doing his job. “I’m going through emotional turmoil, but I have nowhere to go.”Last night, a series of explosions outside Kabul’s international airport—where thousands of Afghans were trying to get on evacuation flights—is estimated to have killed at least 100 and injured more. Many Afghans took to social media to vent their deep despair, anger, and hopelessness.
“I’ve spent all my life in war. Bomb blasts, killings—this is all I’ve seen. There is nothing left in me now,” said Ali from Kabul.
The resurgence of violence has further blocked Afghans’ access to what little healthcare is available to them, according to a recent Doctors Without Borders (MSF) report. NGOs remaining in Afghanistan are “in a kind of limbo, waiting to see who will be in charge,” MSF country representative Filipe Ribeiro said in an NPR interview last week. In another HRW report titled Afghanistan’s Silent Mental Health Crisis, researcher Jonathan Pedneault found that in the last 15 years, the Afghan government trained around 750 psychosocial counsellors to give basic mental health services and facilitate referrals, but less than 10 percent of the population actually availed of these services.
“It’s very difficult to find someone in Afghanistan who wouldn’t fit the diagnostic criteria of trauma,” Heather Barr, associate director of the women’s rights division and former Afghanistan researcher at HRW, told VICE World News.
A 2021 survey conducted across 16 provinces involving over 4,000 Afghans found that 86.16% of the sampled population had either personally experienced or witnessed at least one traumatic event.