September 18, 2021

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Food crisis in Afghanistan.  UN: Food stocks may run out in September

Food crisis in Afghanistan. UN: Food stocks may run out in September

Ramez Alakbarov, a high-ranking UN official, warned that food supplies in Afghanistan could run out in September. Earlier, UN officials indicated that of the $1.3 billion needed for the country’s general relief efforts, only 39 percent of the amount had been received.

According to Ramiz Alakbarov, the UN head of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, about a third of the country’s 38 million people do not know if they will eat a meal per day. The United Nations World Food Program has provided food to Afghanistan and distributed it to tens of thousands of people in recent weeks, but with the coming winter and persistent drought, at least $200 million is urgently needed to continue feeding the most vulnerable Afghans. She said.

– By the end of September, the stocks of the World Food Program will run out in the country – he told reporters during a virtual press conference. – We will not be able to provide these basic foodstuffs because we do not have and will not have stocks – Ramez Al-Akbarov added.

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Food crisis in AfghanistanSTRINGER / PAP / EPA

The difficult humanitarian situation in Afghanistan

Earlier, UN officials said that of the $1.3 billion needed for public relief efforts, only 39 percent of that amount was received. The Taliban, who took control of Afghanistan before the withdrawal of US forces, must now rule a country whose economy is highly dependent on international aid and is in the midst of a deepening economic crisis.

Afghan officials have not been paid for months and the local currency is depreciating. Most of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves are held abroad and are currently frozen.

Mohammad Sharif, a grocer in the capital, Kabul, told The Associated Press that local shops and markets have stocks, but high food prices are a big problem. “If the situation continues like this and there is no government to control prices, it will create a lot of problems for the local people,” he said.

Taliban at Kabul airportReuters

Concerns about fulfilling Taliban promises

The challenges the Taliban face to reviving the economy may put pressure on Western countries to make good on their pledge to form a multi-ethnic and minority government and guarantee human rights.

The Taliban declare that they want to have good relations with other countries, including the United States. However, many Afghans fear that they will not keep these promises, and fear that the country’s economic situation does not give them any chance.

The Taliban said they will allow people with legal papers to travel freely, including to leave the country, but it remains to be seen if any commercial airlines are willing to provide services in Kabul. Bilal Karimi, the official representative of the Taliban spokesman’s office, said Wednesday that a team of technicians from Turkey and Qatar has arrived in Kabul to help restart the airport.

The United Nations has applied to the Taliban for access to the airport so that they can deliver food and other goods directly to the Afghan capital.

Main image source: STRINGER / PAP / EPA

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