Afghanistan Crisis: Taliban Expands the ‘Food for Work’ Program

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Taliban claimed that it was expanding its food for work program, where donated wheat is used as a payment to tens and thousands of workers in the public sector.

It comes as the United Nations (UN) has appealed for $4.4bn (£3.2bn) in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan.

UN officials say the money is required this year because of more than half of country’s need.

Afghanistan’s humanitarian and economic crises have worsened since August when Taliban took over.

This latest statement by Taliban highlights the deepening financial crisis that is ravaging the country.

The donors may also be concerned about Taliban funding their governments with humanitarian aid, although strict guidelines remain for money flowing into Afghanistan.

Despite the Taliban’s takeover, humanitarian assistance has been continued as foreign governments try to stop millions from starving.

However, aid to Afghanistan is intended to bypass its government. Most of the aid is provided by international organisations.

According to officials from the country’s agricultural department, now the Taliban is using wheat donated by India to Afghanistan’s previous US-backed government to provide 10kg per day to around 40,000 Afghan workers.

According to them, the program, which was used mainly in Kabul to compensate labourers, will expand throughout the country.

According to Fazel Bari Fazli (deputy minister of finance and administration at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture), the Taliban already took delivery of 18 tonnes of wheat in Pakistan and has a promise of 37 more. They are also currently talking with India about 55 tonnes.

It was not clear how much of the wheat donated to him would be used for workers’ wages or what percentage would go as humanitarian aid.

Recent months have seen major problems in the finances of the country, including sanctions on Taliban members, assets of the central bank being frozen and suspension of aid that supported the economy up until last year.

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The UN also launched a request for humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan of $4.4 billion on Tuesday.

We enter 2022 with an unprecedented level of needs among ordinary Afghan women, children and men. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 24.4 Million people are in emergency need of humanitarian assistance – greater than half of the population.”

UN stressed that Afghanistan was now experiencing its worst drought in many decades, in addition to a number of other crises.

In the meantime, the Biden administration stated that $308m more would be provided in humanitarian aid for the Afghan people.

The total US assistance to Afghanistan and Afghan refugees has risen to nearly $782 million since October.

According to the White House, the aid would be used to relieve the suffering of the pandemic and “droughts, malnutrition and winter season”.


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