KABUL — In Badakhshan, Afghanistan, for every 100,000 births, 6,500 young mothers die. This is a record unrivaled anywhere in the world. In other parts of Afghanistan, too, the rates of maternal mortality continue to be among the highest in the world.

Roughly 75 percent of Afghan newborns that die do so because of lack of food, warmth and care. Unloved little girls fare the worst. In Afghanistan as a whole, a woman dies of pregnancy- related causes every 27 minutes — and perhaps even more frequently, because many such deaths go unrecorded. Many, perhaps most, are under 16 years of age.

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