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Mental Trauma of War to Haunt Generation of Afghanistan's Children

"Day by day the mental health problems caused by the war are increasing," said psychiatrist Said Najib Jawed

- Common Dreams staff

The horrors of years of war in Afghanistan whose mental scars on children last long after combat ends are detailed in a report on Friday from Reuters.

(photo: Sgt. Roland Hale via flickr) For children 11 and younger, there's only been life under the U.S.-led occupation, and its toll has manifested in widespread mental health problems.

"The generation born after 2001 when the international community entered Afghanistan might be 10, 11 year olds now, and I've been seeing 11 year olds and 10 year olds nowadays who are presenting with so many mental health problems: nightmares, depression, anxiety, incontinence," Mohammad Zaman Rajabi, clinical psychology advisor at the Kabul Mental Health Hospital, the only facility in the country that treats mental illness, told Reuters.

The mental toll of years of war -- regardless of any troop drawdown -- are on the rise.

"The physical aspects of war (last) for a limited time, but the psychological aspects of the war extend for many years. Day by day the mental health problems caused by the war are increasing," consultant psychiatrist Said Najib Jawed told Reuters.

Rajabi adds that the impacts of this traumatized younger generation, who's known nothing but violence as the norm, will be widespread. 

"All these things will lead to a generation of people who are not very healthy mentally, and this will affect everything in the country: education, relationships, families, generally the development of the country."

To make matters worse, "the public health system, like much of the country's infrastructure, has been wrecked by decades of war."