July 10, 2024

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Image credit: BBC

As winter approaches, Afghans are facing “hell on earth”

This is a country that is beginning to experience the very real threat of starvation. The weather has shifted from early fall warmth to a brisk chill. Drought has been reported in several regions, adding to the sense of impending disaster.

A gathering of several hundred men had assembled at Maidan Wardak, 50 kilometres west of Kabul, in the hopes of receiving grain from an official distribution site. The World Food Programme provided the flour.

The throng was kept relatively quiet by Taliban guards, but those who were told they weren’t qualified for a handout were enraged and terrified.

“Winter is almost here, I’m not sure how I’ll make it if I can’t make bread.” One elderly gentleman remarked.

The World Food Programme (WFP) will have to increase its supplies to Afghanistan in order to help more than 22 million people.

If the weather turns out to be as severe as forecasters say this winter, significant numbers of people would face acute hunger and widespread famine.

Before the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August, there was optimism that, with foreign assistance, President Ashraf Ghani’s government would be able to deal with the threat of a harsh winter. When Mr. Ghani’s government fell apart, that assistance vanished.

Western countries have shut off aid to the country because they don’t want to be regarded as supporting a regime that forbids girls from attending school and wants to reinstate the full gamut of sharia punishments.

Will such governments simply stand by and let millions of innocent people starve to death?

Mr. Beasley challenges developed-world governments and billionaires to acknowledge the urgent need for assistance.

The snow is starting to fall on the adjacent mountain peaks, and the air has a fresh sharpness to it. Winter will arrive shortly, and millions of people will be on the verge of disaster.