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Afghanistan turmoil

'Everyone has a dream': Inside one Afghan family's struggle

A malnourished daughter highlights worsening poverty crisis as winter looms

Ruqia with her mother and father, Massouma and Hussein, on Nov. 12: The girl's health has improved since Nikkei Asia met the family in late October. (Photo by Andrew North)

MAZAR-I SHARIF, Afghanistan -- Ruqia is painfully thin and weak, but her health has improved since Nikkei Asia met her in late October, when she was close to starvation. She manages a whispered greeting of "Salam aleikum" to her visitors as her parents Massouma and Hussein look on. Sitting upright on a blanket spread over a cement step, she warms herself in the sun, watching her 4-year-old brother chase an irritated chicken around the family's small yard.

We first reported on Ruqia's plight at the start of this month, after she was admitted to a hospital in the Afghan capital, Kabul, suffering from severe malnutrition. Details of Ruqia's emaciated condition, along with the desperate efforts of her impoverished parents to save her, prompted many Nikkei readers to donate money to help.

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