Potential Famine is a Greater Threat to Progress in Afghanistan "than Taliban".

Politics Materials 11 November 2008 13:20 (UTC +04:00)

Afghanistan, Kabul,11, November / corr Trend A. Hakimi / Recently, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a prominent think tank, warned that a potential famine is a greater threat to progress in Afghanistan "than the Taliban.

Most of people in Afghanistan's remote province have traditional life like agricultural and livestock or most of the provincial residents earn their living from agricultural goods which have diminished following years of drought.

Last year's brutal winter killed hundreds of people and hundreds of thousands of livestock. A poor harvest this year has meant that stockpiles of food for the coming winter have not been replenished.

Some northern provinces in Afghanistan, due to Geographical location, have harsh winter, even for long time in winter; transportations by the road are closed, due to heavy snow.

The harsh winter weather will be exacerbated this year by successive droughts, which have reduced food stocks in rural areas to dangerous levels, official said.

Ghor is one of those provinces that suffer more in winter.

Members of Parliament's emergency committee, who visited the province last week, warned of the high risk of famine in the province, which borders the western province of Herat.

The think tank RUSI calls for the international community to mount an "air-lift" of essential aid to rural areas.

Humayoon Hamid Zadah , spokesman for the president, said to Trend that this year the government of Afghanistan is more prepared than last year.

But RUSI estimates that Afghanistan needs 25,000 tones of aid almost immediately, with another 70,000 tones coming into the country by February.

In the meanwhile, to avert winter disaster German government announced its readiness to help Afghanistan in coming winter.

The German Embassy in Kabul has ordered €1 million released at once with a further €2 million handed to the Red Cross shortly to aid their efforts in four Northern provinces this winter.

However, there is another problem. Afghan officials say that all roads leading to the north province are blocked during the winter months and they urged the government to send aid immediately, before the snow falls.

Khudadad Erfani, a district chief, told Trend the main obstacle to avert the winter disaster is insecurity.

The vehicles may be set on fire by Taliban during the transmission of food and clothes to targeted provinces.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]