Photo: Unsplash/Andreea Popa

Suicides Surge in Daikundi Province: Nine Deaths in Three Months

The remote central province of Daikundi is grappling with a spate of suicides, the latest a 18-year-old girl who took her own life on Thursday night. She is the ninth person to commit suicide in Daikundi in just the past three months, highlighting the deepening mental health crisis unfolding across Afghanistan.

The latest victim named Sharifa, who hanged herself at her home in Shahristan district on September 14. The reason behind her suicide is still unknown, and the local Taliban authorities haven’t commented on the situation.

It is important to note that the number only includes reported cases to the media; many suicide cases in Afghanistan are not registered or investigated due to the religious and cultural stigma attached. As a result, the many cases and circumstances that led to suicide are often concealed or ignored.

According to UNAMAM, Daikundi is among the poorest provinces in Afghanistan and lagging behind in infrastructure development and economic growth. The province has one of the highest rates of suicide, according to cases reported to the media.

Afghanistan is one of the most depressed countries in the world, with the highest rate of mental health problems and suicidal thoughts among its people. Statistics show more than 98 percent of the population suffers from psychological distress.

Moreover, the country is one of the few countries in the world where women are more likely to commit suicide than men. In 2017, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC)  reported that over 3,000 people commit suicide in Afghanistan every year, and 80 percent of them are women.

The situation has drastically worsened after the Taliban taken over of the country, which has imposed severe restrictions on human rights and freedoms, especially for women and girls. The Taliban have banned women from working, studying, and participating in public life, depriving them of their basic rights and opportunities.

The country also faces a humanitarian crisis, with widespread poverty, hunger, and unemployment. These factors have increased the risk of psychological distress, suicidal thoughts among people.

A recent study in Herat province by the Afghanistan Centre for Epidemiological Studies, published in March this year, revealed that two-thirds of Afghan adolescents showed signs of depression. The UN has also warned about the “widespread mental health issues and escalating accounts of suicides” in Afghanistan.