According to Catherine Bertini, executive director of the World Food Program, the Taliban took over the WFP warehouses in Kabul and Kandahar without a fight. She said soldiers seized about 7,000 tons of food -- more than half the already reduced and inadequate amount stored in the country, which faces large-scale famine this winter.
Even before the Sept. 11 attack in the United States and the U.S.- British military response in Afghanistan, the WFP estimated that 3.8 million Afghans were facing severe hunger this winter because of years of civil strife and a three-year drought. Now, the WFP estimates that more than 6 million Afghans will need food relief this winter and that 1.5 million face a severe food shortage. The job of feeding them also has become much more difficult, the WFP said.
[Andrew Natsios] said that under an agreement between the United States and the WFP, the 65,000 tons of wheat now being shipped to the region will be heading for Iran and central Asian nations of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan rather than to Pakistan. He said the food could be shipped more directly that way into some of the Afghan areas most affected by the drought. He also said the routes into Afghanistan from nations other than Pakistan are more stable and less controlled by the Taliban.
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