Drought, conflict and poverty in Afghanistan

Baby Aktar's parents are desperately trying to keep him alive. Photo: ITV News

First published on 16th February 2012.

The word desperation is often overused, but not in Afghanistan.

All around the country are dreadful examples of families in truly desperate states having to think of a way to keep their children alive.

We met one of those families, invited into their single room home, to hear their life story. Leila Jan and Mohammed have five children, only three survive and their youngest child is now dangerously malnourished. Baby Aktar will be lucky to survive - his tiny arms barely wider than my finger.

Such is the family's desperation that just a few days ago his father gave him away in the hope that he would survive and they could afford to buy food for their other children.

In the end they missed the child so much they brought him home but loving him and missing him may yet cost him his life. This family can rarely afford food and that threatens its very survival.

Baby Aktar has now been put on a Save the Children feeding programme. It is his best hope of survival.

In Afghanistan this story is not unusual. Drought, conflict and poverty are creating true desperation.