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97% of Afghan population now facing food shortages: UN

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(Last Updated On: May 5, 2022)

Millions of Afghans are now experiencing intense food shortages following the collapse of the former government and Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) takeover in August.

As Muslims around the world celebrated Eid-Uk-Fitr, experts say that for most Afghans, it was simply another day of struggle to put food on the table.

According to the United Nations, 97 percent of Afghans are experiencing food shortages.

Following the IEA’s takeover in August, most Western aid was stopped. Hospitals and schools are unable to pay their employees, and many people are unable to purchase food, exacerbating an already dire crisis.

In a phone interview from her home in Afghanistan, a woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told Canada’s CTV News that she and her children struggled during Ramadan after months of limited access to food, which meant they had little to eat to break their fast in the evenings.

She says that without an adult male family member, their main source of income has been cut off, and the meal they received from a local charity on Eid for iftar was their first complete meal in months.

“When it comes to food shortages, it is so much worse than we can see,” said Noorain Noorani, the executive director of The Zahra Foundation, a registered charity with offices in Canada and the U.K. working to provide food and safe drinking water to impacted communities in Afghanistan.

“Political instability has continued to lead to displacement, loss of income, and access to education, and is contributing to the ongoing cycle of chronic poverty,” she said.

Over the past few months, the country has suffered a deadly series of bombings, including at mosques in Kabul, Kunduz and Mazar-e Sharif – an increased level of violence that Noorani says is compounding the food crisis.

The Zahra Foundation is one of the many organizations on the ground in Afghanistan that offered meal packages on Eid as Muslims broke their fasts with iftar.

“On Eid, we offered meals to anyone who needed them, and not just the civilians who’ve registered with us. But in the past few months, there are now more people on the waitlist than ever before,” said Noorani.

According to the United Nations World Food Program, more than 22 million people, or more than half of the country’s population, are suffering from acute hunger, with the majority unable to predict when their next meal would arrive.

This is a significant rise from September 2020, when over 14 million people were on the verge of becoming hungry. According to the group, 97 percent of the population had insufficient food consumption in December, and they were adopting ways to cope with their circumstances, such as skipping a meal.

The situation has gotten worse since a drought hit Afghanistan in October 2020. The UN says more than 40 percent of all crops have been lost, and livestock has been devastated due to the severe weather.

The United Nations World Food Programme in Afghanistan reached 376,139 people in Kabul in March 2022 for financial and food assistance, with the latest numbers for those supported in Eid still being tallied.

The IEA-controlled government has been cut off from the international economy since the fall of Kabul in August and the departure of U.S. soldiers, resulting in a currency crisis, widespread poverty, and the collapse of critical public services including health care.

The UN and its partners sought more than US$5 billion for the year in mid-January, more than the agency has ever requested for a single country.

The majority of the aid, US$4.4 billion, would go to Afghans within the nation. The remainder would be used to help the millions of Afghan refugees living in neighbouring countries such as Iran and Pakistan.

But there are concerns that Afghanistan still isn’t receiving enough international support.

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US understands importance of Chabahar Port for Afghanistan: India

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2024)

The United States understands the importance of Chabahar Port for continued humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan and to provide the country economic alternatives, India’s foreign ministry said on Friday.

 India recently signed a 10-year agreement to develop and operate Iran’s strategic Chabahar Port as New Delhi aims to boost trade ties with landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, bypassing ports in its western neighbour and arch foe Pakistan.

But the deal has prompted a thinly veiled threat of sanctions from the United States, with whom India has developed close economic and military ties in recent decades.

India’s foreign ministry spokesman, Randhir Jaiswal, noted that since 2018, India has supplied 85,000 metric tons of wheat, 200 metric tons of pulses and 40,000 litres of pesticide Malathion to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port.

“The United States also has an understanding…understands the importance of Chabahar Port for continued humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan and to provide Afghanistan economic alternatives,” he said in a press conference.

“Our External Affairs Minister also spoke on this matter in several forums recently, where he said that we should not take a narrow view of this particular project, it has an important role to play as far as the region is concerned, connectivity is concerned, particularly for the landlocked countries in the area,” he added.

He also said that Russia‘s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, met with an Indian delegation led by Joint Secretary, J.P. Singh, who looks after Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, in the Ministry of External Affairs, essentially exchange of views on the ground and the situation and how the two countries look at the situation.

He said that they emphasized on the need to provide development assistance and humanitarian support to the people of Afghanistan.

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Nicaragua president sends letter of condolence to IEA leader after floods

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2024)

The Afghan Embassy in China announced Saturday that the President of Nicaragua has sent a letter of condolence to the leader of the Islamic Emirate, Mawlawi Hebatullah Akhundzada, following the recent deadly floods in Afghanistan.

Based on the embassy’s statement, the letter was handed over by Michael Campbell, the Nicaraguan ambassador to China, to Bilal Karimi, the Afghan ambassador to China.

In the letter, Nicaragua president, Daniel Ortega, while expressing his sympathy over the floods, expressed his interest in establishing good relations with the Islamic Emirate and cooperation in various fields.

The Nicaraguan ambassador stated that the Nicaraguan people, like the Afghans, achieved independence after a hard struggle against the colonialists, which is a common point between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Bilal Karimi, Afghanistan’s ambassador to China, has said that he will convey the condolence letter of the President of Nicaragua to the leader of the Islamic Emirate. He also assured of maintaining good relations with the country.

Karimi emphasized that all Latin American countries are important, but Nicaragua’s taking the initiative is a positive and admirable move.

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UN Doha meeting should reflect realities of Afghanistan: Iranian envoy

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2024)

Iran’s special representative for Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, said in a meeting with his Italian counterpart that the next UN-convened meeting on Afghanistan should reflect the realities of the country.

Qomi said that Tehran is ready to work with Europe on the development of a comprehensive cooperation plan for Afghanistan based on the consultations it has conducted.

He added that the topics of the third meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan in Doha should be based on the realities of the region and Afghanistan.

“The actions of countries outside the region have not been useful in solving the crisis and challenges of Afghanistan so far, and if this situation continues, Europe will also be plagued by the problems,” he said.

The last meeting of the United Nations on Afghanistan was held in Doha in February this year, but it failed to achieve its primary objectives.

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