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World Food Program says food assistance for Afghans running out

Tens of millions of people are in need of food in Afghanistan. (File photo by Reuters)

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has announced that it lacks the funds to provide food assistance to millions of hungry people in cash-strapped Afghanistan.

WFP Director for Afghanistan Hsiao-Wei Lee told the Reuters news agency on Friday that food assistance to Afghanistan will shrink to nothing by the end of October under their current funding projections.

"It's five million people we are able to serve for another couple of months but then beyond that we don't have the resources," the WFP director told Reuters. "That I think conveys the urgency of where we stand."

The WFP estimates based on donor countries' promised contributions so far, indicate that food reductions would start in August and drop further in September until the funds finish and the UN agency's food assistance stops completely in October.

Meanwhile, reportedly half of the almost 40 million population of Afghanistan are grappling with hunger and malnutrition; however, due to the drop in donations, the WFP was forced to slash rations and cash assistance from 8 million Afghans in 2023.

UN officials link the lack of funds to the current global financial crises and strained government budgets.

They also link lesser contributions by donor countries to what they claim is the ruling Taliban's mismanagement of the country that has led to its decline.

Meantime, people in the war-ravaged country have been tormented by grinding poverty and hunger for decades, but since the botched exit of the US-led international forces and the Taliban's sweeping takeover in August 2021, the country has been teetering on the brink of a major humanitarian catastrophe.

In 2022, a top official at the UN food agency described the situation in Afghanistan as the "worst humanitarian crisis on earth" while a senior executive of the UN Development Program called it the worst humanitarian disaster he has "ever seen".

Assets freeze by the US destroyed Afghanistan’s fragile economy

After the Taliban gained control of Kabul in August of 2021, the US and its international partners raced to cut off Afghanistan’s access to international aid.

The US-led coalition froze roughly $10 billion in assets belonging to Afghanistan’s Central Bank, claiming it did not recognize the new government in Kabul. This led to the swift collapse of the economy and the current plight of the Afghans.

Conditions got worse after cruel and inhumane sanctions were imposed by the West on the ruling Taliban leaders in Kabul, precipitating the crisis.

The European Union then followed suit, halting development assistance to the country, followed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, all claiming they did not approve of the new leaders.

Calls for the US to return the frozen assets to revive Afghanistan’s economy, curb high unemployment, and end widespread hunger, particularly among Afghan children, have been dismissed till now, showing the West's total disregard for human life in Afghanistan.

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