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Afghanistan Update: Bandits Roam, Cluster Bombs Kill, Thieves Rob Warehouses, and Crucial Helicopter Assistance For Food Aid Is Nowhere in Sight

Updates On Unmet Immediate Needs in Afghanistan

January 21, 2002

The big headline concerning Afghanistan today is that the nations of the world have pledged $4.5 billion over the next five years for the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

Meanwhile back on the ground in Afghanistan, there is still a lack of immediate hands-on attention to several problems that I've discussed in the past weeks, so the problems continue festering.  The result is ever-increasing, completely unnecessary death and injury to Afghan civilians.

In November, December and earlier this month, I wrote about how the lack of security was preventing food from being distributed to those who need it.  Unbelievably, there is still no international peacekeeping force outside of Kabul to perform that function.  So food convoys continue to be robbed, other food deliveries are cancelled because of fear of the bandits, and food is still being stolen from aid warehouses.

Back in November there were reports of children being maimed and killed by unexploded cluster bombs.  Couldn't we have sent in clearance teams to remove them?  We didn't, and just last week seven children were killed in one village alone by these deadly munitions.  Beyond that, thousands of Afghans can't return to their villages because their homes and fields are littered with these unexploded cluster bombs.

Last but not least, two weeks ago it was apparent that even though massive amounts of food aid were inside Afghanistan, the relief organizations had no way to distribute those supplies to isolated villages where starving people were reduced to eating grass.  Use of helicopters is clearly called for.  We undoubtedly have scores of choppers in that region not being used now which could perform that function.  That certainly doesn't seem to be happening, unfortunately, as reports continue in Afghanistan of inaccessible villages being unable to secure desperately needed food aid.

It's all well and good that the donor nations have pledged all the aid they did.  But their seeming lack of concern to do anything NOW about the problems described above makes me wonder how much of the billions pledged will really be delivered.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

More on Starvation in Afghanistan

More on Civilian Casualties


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