The United Nations’ (UN) World Food Program (WFP) stated Sunday that over the next year, roughly four million Afghans will suffer from the country’s ongoing food shortage, according to Reuters. With a harsh winter expected to begin by mid-November, food delivery will be thwarted to more than one-fourth of those individuals, who reside in rural areas. Despite an 80% boost in the cereal harvest this year, droughts in some parts of the country yielded low agricultural production, reported AP.
Since March, over 1.75 million Afghans have returned from bordering nations. However, continued violence and depressed economic conditions have driven 1,200 people per week to seek refuge in Pakistan, according to spokeswoman Maki Shinohara of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Last January, international donors meeting in Tokyo pledged $4.5 billion to Afghanistan. However, President Hamid Karzai and his Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani disclosed in a meeting earlier this month that UN and other aid groups received $800 million of the $890 million given in aid thus far. Pressing for additional monies to be directed to the Afghan government, Karzai urged donor nations to fulfill their promise of $1.8 billion in funding this year.
Reports of violence persist even weeks after the US State Department issued a report questioning the expansion of peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan. The Feminist Majority, President Karzai, UN officials, and women’s and human rights organizations have urged a full-scale expansion of peacekeeping troops throughout the country in order to ensure security and enable reconstruction efforts.