Feature: In Kabul, orphaned children are forced to support their families



KABUL, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- It may not be true in urban cities in other parts of the world for children to work in order to support their families, but in this capital city, it is not unusual.

Shapoor, 9, is one of these poor Afghan children who are forced to toil the whole day in the streets of Kabul to earn bread for their families.

"I have no choice but to work, sometimes from dawn to dust to earn and support my family," Shapoor, who like many Afghans has only one name, told Xinhua.

Street children like Shapoor are doing odd jobs, from selling shopping bags and toilet paper to polishing shoes and washing car. These Afghan children are forced to work when they are supposed to be in school or at play.

"In addition to washing cars, selling shopping bags and polishing shows, sometimes I scavenge from garbage bins to find usable goods to sell," Shapoor said.

"Since the death of my father in a bomb blast two years ago the responsibility of feeding my family rested on me and that is why I have to work hard," Shapoor said.

Shapoor said that his father, along with several others, was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Kabul two years ago. Since then, he has been doing jobs fit for older people just so he can support his mother and four siblings.

Shapoor remembered that his father wanted him to become a doctor but this is no longer possible.

"Usually I earn around 350 Afghanis (1 U.S. dollar equals 57 Afghanis) daily to support my mother, three sisters, my younger brother and myself," the 9-year-old boy said.

Nonetheless, Shapoor has continued his schooling in a government school where he is in grade three though sometimes he has to skip classes to work in the streets.

Several other Afghan children also work in Kabul streets, some of them in the markets and malls, carrying bags of shoppers or running errands for customers.

The unabated fighting in Afghanistan, perpetrated by militant groups such as the Taliban, has resulted in thousands of deaths and forced children like Shapoor to work to earn a living.

It is young Afghans like Shapoor who are suffering the most in a senseless war that they could never understand why it is happening.