An Iranian plane carrying 21 tons of humanitarian food aid has landed in the Kabul airport, in the second flight from the Islamic Republic to the Afghan capital since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
The plane delivered Iran’s second shipment of humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan in Kabul International Airport on Saturday. The shipment includes rice, oil and other food items.
Last week, an Iranian plane landed in the airport and delivered the first shipment of Iran’s humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, including food and medicine.
According to a recent survey by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), only five percent of Afghans currently have access to three adequate quality meals a day.
“In the last two weeks, about 50 percent of the Afghan people have been without at least one meal,” said Arif Husain, the chief economist and director of the Food Security Analysis and Trends Service at the WFP.
The UN agency has already asked for $200 million in emergency aid to deliver food to Afghanistan's vulnerable people before the winter season, Husain said, warning that the war-ravaged country would run out of food in less than a month if emergency aid did not arrive there.
Afghanistan relies on Iran for transit routes and imports, including fuel. According to customs officials, all Iranian borders with Afghanistan have reopened and goods are transiting safely.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stressed last month that Iran would continue to support the Afghan people.
"We are on the side of the Afghan nation because governments come and go as in the past, but it is the Afghan nation that remains, and the nature of Iran's relationship with governments also depends on the nature of their relationship with Iran. We ask God for goodness and salvation from this situation for the people of Afghanistan," he said in a meeting with the new Iranian administration.
The Islamic Republic has spent millions of dollars on development and reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. It has built hundreds of kilometers of highways and railroads.
Iran is also hosting around three million Afghans, including some one million refugees and two million undocumented migrants, according to the United Nations. Many of them have been residing in Iran for more than four decades.
The government of Afghanistan collapsed on August 15 and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country in the face of the lightning advances of the Taliban militant group that followed US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw the American troops in a disastrous pullout.
On September 7, the Taliban announced the formation of a caretaker government in Afghanistan, where hunger and poverty has significantly increased since the fall of Kabul.
The US military led the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 in what it proclaimed was a war on terror meant to eradicate the Taliban. But two decades later, the American occupation forces left the country with a humiliating defeat.