Afghans facing real fear of hunger

Afghanistan is a country which is starting to feel the very real fear of hunger. The weather is turning from early autumn warmth to a sharp chill. Several areas are reporting drought, which adds to the sense of growing catastrophe.
According to the World Food Programme over 23 million people are “marching towards starvation” in the country.
At Maidan Wardak, 50 miles west of Kabul, a crowd of several hundred men had gathered in the hope of getting flour from an official distribution point. The flour was provided by the World Food Programme.
Taliban soldiers kept the crowd reasonably quiet, but people who were told they weren’t eligible for a hand-out were angry and frightened.
“The winter is nearly here,” said one old man. “I don’t know how I’ll get through it if I can’t make bread”.
The WFP is faced with having to raise its supplies to Afghanistan to help more than 22 million people.
If the weather is as bad as experts are predicting this winter, the expectation is that large numbers will be threatened with acute hunger and widespread famine.
Before the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in August, there was confidence that the government of President Ashraf Ghani would be able to cope with the threat of a bad winter, given the help of the international community. That help evaporated when Mr Ghani’s government collapsed.
Western countries have cut off their aid to the country, since they don’t want to be seen to help a regime which bars girls from education and is in favour of reintroducing the full range of sharia punishments.
Now the snow is beginning to settle on the nearby mountain-tops and there is a new sharpness in the air. The winter will very soon be here, and huge numbers of people will be on the very brink of catastrophe.

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