By Shadi Khan Saif
Up to 3,000 people are committing suicide in Afghanistan each year, 80 percent of whom are women, an official said Sunday.
Speaking at an event on suicide prevention in capital Kabul, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) Commissioner Qudri Yazdan said while suicides continue to be on the rise in the country, several cases go unreported.
“Families avoid reporting cases of female suicides due to [fear that it would tarnish their] ‘honor’. The statistics we have documented are from cases reported at hospitals and at our commission, which proves that up to 3,000 suicides are being committed each year,” Yazdan said.
She pointed out the alarming fact that 80 percent of the cases were females.
According to the World Health Organization estimates, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt around the world.
Ministry of Public Health officials acknowledged at the gathering that latest figures of suicides in the country were not known for various reasons.
Fida Mohammad, director of the ministry, said a previous official survey held in Kabul, and Herat and Logar provinces indicated that more than 2,000 individuals, mainly teenaged girls, had tried to burn themselves to death.
Speakers highlighted under-age marriages, outdated social norms and ragging violence as main factors behind the surge in number of suicides in Afghanistan.