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AFGHANISTAN: Insecurity stops food aid to a Daykundi district

NILI, 14 November 2007 (IRIN) - A UN World Food Programme (WFP) convoy with 50 metric tonnes of mixed food aid for thousands of beneficiaries in Geeti district of Daykundi province, central-south Afghanistan, could not reach its final destination due to security concerns, WFP told IRIN.

“A safe passage for the WFP food aid convoy to Geeti district was not available due to increased insecurity,” said Rikki Maliklali, WFP’s deputy representative in Afghanistan.

WFP distributed some of its food aid in Daykundi’s provincial capital, Nili, after it became clear that the convoy - about five private trucks - could not wait indefinitely.

The remaining aid has been sent to Waras district in neighbouring Bamyan province where it will be distributed through WFP’s ongoing projects, Maliklali added.

Security concerns arose after Taliban insurgents infiltrated Kajran district in southern Daykundi in a bid to destabilise the province, which borders insurgency-torn southern Helmand, Afghanistan’s interior ministry confirmed.

Afghan government forces launched a military operation on 11 November to drive out Taliban insurgents from Kajran.

WFP has suffered unprecedented attacks on its food aid convoys in Afghanistan in the past 11 months.

More than 30 incidents involving WFP trucks have been reported this year against five in 2006, WFP confirmed. Because of repeated attacks by unidentified gunmen, about 10,000 metric tonnes of mixed food items have gone to waste.

The UN agency has suspended travel on an important ring road, which connects southern, central-south and western parts of Afghanistan, because of insecurity.

Thousands of people, including more than 6,000 schoolchildren and many tuberculosis patients, are on WFP’s food assistance list in Geeti.

“About 60 metric tonnes of mixed food aid, including cooking oil, beans and fortified biscuits, should reach Geeti district before winter,” said Maliklali.

However, Haji Abdul Baqi Akrami, deputy governor of Daykundi province, urged WFP to resume sending aid convoys to Geeti.

“We are ready to guarantee security for WFP and other aid agencies to operate throughout Daykundi province,” said Akrami. “The people of Geeti district are very disappointed that aid has not reached them.”

The WFP will deliver the required food aid to Geeti as soon as it is safe to do so, Maliklali said.

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Copyright © IRIN 2007
This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States.
IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.



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