Hundreds of displaced Afghan families seeking food and shelter

Hundreds of Afghan families who have been camping in searing heat at a Kabul park after the Taliban overran their provinces are begging for food and shelter, as a humanitarian crisis unfolds in the war-torn country.

The Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan this month, culminating in the capture of Kabul on August 15, has thrown the country into turmoil.

While thousands of people have crowded the airport to try to flee, many others, like the families in the park, are stuck in limbo, unsure whether it is safer to try to go home or stay where they are.

“I’m in a bad situation,” said Zahida Bibi, a housewife, sitting under the blazing sun with her large family. “My head hurts. I feel very bad, there is nothing in my stomach.”

Ahmed Waseem, displaced from northern Afghanistan, said those in the park were hoping the central government would pay attention. “We are in an open field and in the heat,” he said.

A Taliban spokesman told Reuters news agency the group was not providing food to the people at the park and others at the airport because it would lead to further overcrowding. They should return to their homes, he said.

Afghanistan’s Western-backed president and many other officials fled after government forces melted away in the face of the Taliban advance.

The group has placed its members in ministries and ordered some officials back to work, but services are yet to resume, with banks still closed.

Phalwan Sameer, also from northern Afghanistan, said his family came to Kabul after the situation rapidly deteriorated in his home town.

“There (was) a lot of fighting and bombing as well. That’s why we came here. The houses were burned and we became homeless,” he said. _Al-Jazeera