How do the poor live under the Taliban?

2023 © Wikiask
Short answer:
  • Due to the lack of a healthy diet, poor Afghan people suffer from malnourishment.
  • They face illiteracy, a high unemployment rate, and meager living conditions under Taliban rule.
  • Inadequate medical infrastructure results in poor medical care and contributes chiefly to infant mortality rates and the death of new mothers.

Afghanistan has lived for more than twenty years with help from other countries, primarily the USA. The country has been embroiled in war for the last forty years, so it hasn't had time to grow or use its vast mineral resources to help people escape poverty.

Taliban took over the government after the exit of the U.S. army in 2021. The state of poor living under Taliban rule remains concerning.

The poor population of Afghanistan is living in a state of malnutrition under Taliban rule[edit]

Malnutrition is a known cause of a high prevalence of childhood stunting in Afghanistan.

The nation has a 41% stunting rate. Stunting may cause poor cognition, excessive weight fluctuations, and nutrition-related diseases in adulthood. An estimated 5-10% of Afghan youngsters are underweight.

Only 57% of Afghan homes use iodized salt, placing them at risk for iodine deficiency.

Approximately a third of Afghan women are estimated to suffer from anemia resulting in tiredness, cardiac difficulties, and pregnancy complications.[1]

The poverty-stricken population of Afghanistan is illiterate, unemployed, and living in deplorable conditions[edit]

Only 28% of the people in Afghanistan who are 15 or older can read or write. About 70,792 Afghan families are hiding out in dirty makeshift camps. Twenty-five percent of these families have lived there for more than ten years. Many live in small mud homes that are susceptible to damage by elements.

A damaged home in Afghanistan after an earthquake, June 2022
A damaged mud home in Afghanistan after an earthquake, June 2022. Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0

Unemployment makes it hard to move these and other internally displaced people because they don't want to return to rural areas without jobs.

Afghanistan's 40 million people are facing a crisis partly caused by Taliban administration and partly caused by drought and global inflation caused by the war in Ukraine.

Half of the people still need access to clean water sources. This includes both men and women who live in cities and rural areas.[2]

The unpaid volunteers at the hospitals receive no assistance to run the facilities[edit]

The country's hospitals and health centers are operating, but only barely.

Hospitals remain equipped with beds and basic facilities that were put in place by previous regime. However, the availability of even the most basic medical supplies is dangerously low.

Afghanistan earthquake survivors June 2022 Injured survivors receiving treatment at a hospital.
Afghanistan earthquake injured survivors receiving treatment at a hospital in June 2022. Tasnim News Agency CC BY 4.0

The medical staff sometimes do not receive any compensation for months, but they continue in their capacity to work and help those who are ill and starving.[3]

There is a high infant mortality rate, and new mothers' deaths are common in Afghanistan[edit]

For every 100,000 births, 460 mothers die, and for every 1,000 births, 119 babies die. Afghanistan has the second-highest death rate for mothers and the third-highest death rate for babies.

Many deaths are preventable with trained doctors and immediate, affordable care. But since there is a lack of medical doctors, 0.21 of a doctor to every 1000 citizens, it is hard to find good care.[4]

Under the Taliban, poor people are mostly illiterate, women cannot work, and male children from poor households are forced to work to supplement their family income[edit]

An estimated 71.9% of adults over the age of 15 can't do any reading and writing. On average, people who can go to school only finish about eight years of school, with women usually spending four years less than men.

Taliban has barred women from attending the high-school. They are only allowed to do jobs that men may not perform. It further exacerbates poverty among Afghan households.[5]

Women in burqa with their children in Herat, Afghanistan
Women in burqa with their children in Herat, Afghanistan. Arnesen, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A past estimate puts a quarter of male Afghan children aged 5 to 14 were working. It meant they missed out on their childhood and, most importantly, a good education. Child labor further exacerbates the problem of illiteracy.[6]


  1. Levitt, Emily; Kostermans, Kees; Laviolette, Luc; Mbuya, Nkosinathi (2011). "Malnutrition in Afghanistan : Scale, Scope, Causes, and Potential Response". Washington, DC. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. "New World Bank study: A snapshot of living conditions in Afghanistan". Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  3. "In Afghan hospital, unpaid doctors and rigid Taliban clash". The Indian Express. 2021-11-01. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  4. "Health". Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  5. Ochab, Dr Ewelina U. "One Year under The Taliban Rule: Situation Of Women And Girls In Afghanistan". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  6. "Illiteracy Rate in Afghanistan is Terrible: Danish". TOLOnews. Retrieved 2022-11-11.