Afghanistan crisis: Taliban expands ‘food for work’ programme

Image credit: Sanaullah Seiam

The Taliban has announced that it will expand its “food for work” program, in which donated wheat is used to pay tens of thousands of government workers.

It comes as the UN has requested $4.4 billion (£3.2 billion) in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan.

The money is needed this year, according to the UN, because more than half the country’s population is in need.

Since the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan in August, the country’s economic and humanitarian crises have worsened.

The Taliban’s newest pronouncement highlighted the country’s financial problems.

It could also raise concerns among donors about the Taliban’s use of humanitarian help to sustain their administration, despite the fact that rigorous controls on money entering Afghanistan remain in place.

Despite the Taliban’s control, some humanitarian aid has persisted as international governments try to save millions of Afghans from starving.

However, the help is primarily given by international organisations, bypassing the Afghan government.

According to Fazel Bari Fazli, deputy minister of administration and finance at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, the Taliban has already received 18 tonnes of wheat from Pakistan, with another 37 tonnes promised, and is in talks with India over another 55 tonnes.

A number of key difficulties have hurt the country’s finances in recent months, including the imposition of sanctions on Taliban members, the freezing of the central bank’s assets, and the suspension of foreign aid, which had been supporting the economy until last year.

A UN appeal for $4.4 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan was also launched on Tuesday.

In addition to a litany of issues, Afghanistan is currently experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades, according to the UN.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration announced that it would provide an extra $308 million in humanitarian relief to Afghans.

Since October, the US has spent about $782 million on Afghanistan and Afghan refugees in the region. The help was intended to alleviate the suffering caused by the virus, as well as “drought, hunger, and the winter season,” according to the White House.

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