The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned in a report on 11 November that Afghanistan faced an unprecedented crisis in 2021, leading to a rapid increase in acute food insecurity this year.
Since March 2022, the country has been suffering one of the largest and most severe hunger crises in the world; affecting 22.8 million people — equivalent to more than half of the population — as a result of prolonged drought, the US-led conflict, political instability and Covid-19, the document reflects.
The Afghanistan Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock warned of the severe agri-food crisis facing the country and called on international aid organizations to support the agricultural sector.
“We call on the (FAO) to support Afghan farmers for the coming year, and on the Taliban government to prevent food prices from rising,” said the deputy director of the Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock (ACAL), Mirwais Hajizada.
According to ACAL statistics, more than 40,000 hectares of agricultural land were destroyed by floods throughout Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the government of US President Joe Biden is still in the process of deciding whether to return half of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves currently held in the Federal Bank of New York.
Earlier this year, the White House unilaterally decided to keep half of Afghanistan’s $7 billion in reserves, with the other half having been earmarked to pay the families of the 11 September victims.
Other countries hold some $2 billion of Afghan reserves.
According to the UN, Afghanistan’s food crisis was severely exacerbated after Washington and other donors halted aid that funded 70 percent of the government budget.
US lawmakers have also voted to bar Afghanistan from receiving any US humanitarian relief, as part of a bill that approved an unprecedented $839 billion budget for the US military.
The situation has become so dire that in recent months Taliban officials offered to barter minerals, raisins, and medicinal herbs with Russia in exchange for fuel.