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EXP-IRAQ-WAR-WIDOWS-N 02-22 Web

War widows guessed at 1 in 11

Her twin sisters were killed trying to flee Fallujah in 2004. Then her husband was killed by a car bomb in Baghdad just after she had become pregnant. When her own twins were 5 months old, one was killed by an explosive planted in a Baghdad market.

Now, Nacham Jaleel Kadim, 23, lives with her remaining daughter in a trailer park for war widows and their families in one of the poorest parts of Iraq’s capital.

As the number of widows has swelled after six years of war, their presence on city streets begging for food or as potential recruits by insurgents has become a vexing symbol of the breakdown of Iraqi self-sufficiency.

"We can’t help everybody," said Leila Kadim, a managing director in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. "There are too many."

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Among Iraqi women aged 15 to 80, 1 in 11 are estimated to be widows, though officials admit that figure is hardly more than a guess.

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