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UN Food Convoy Attack, Blow For Struggling Afghans

Attack on United Nations food convoy a blow for struggling Afghans

28 July 2008 - The United Nations mission in Afghanistan has condemned the latest attack on a World Food Programme (WFP) convoy that was transporting vital aid for the country's most vulnerable, who are suffering amid drought and rising food prices.

A convoy of 49 trucks that were transporting WFP food aid from Kandahar to Herat was attacked last Thursday by unidentified gunmen in the western province of Farah. Two trucks were torched, and eight trucks were stolen and have not been recovered so far.

More than 320 metric tons of food, enough for around 38,400 Afghans for one month, was looted in the attack.

"Such attacks dishonour the Afghan people and the generosity of the international community. They are unacceptable and must stop," Aleem Siddique, spokesperson for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), told reporters in Kabul.

"At this time of severe drought and rising food prices it is even more reprehensible that a humanitarian convoy would be attacked in this way," he added.

Earlier this month, the UN and the Afghan Government appealed for just over $400 million to feed 4.5 million people who are struggling as a result of rising food prices, poor harvests and drought.

Some 450,000 urban and rural households have been hit hard by the surge in the prices of staples such as wheat, which have increased by 50 to 100 per cent in some parts of the country.

There were 12 armed attacks against vehicles carrying WFP food between January and June this year, resulting in the loss of some 466 tons of food, valued at over $300,000.

Last year saw more than 30 attacks against commercial vehicles or convoys carrying WFP food. In total, 870 tons of food, valued at $730,000, was lost.

Despite the most recent attack, WFP says it will continue food dispatches from southern Kandahar province to Herat in the west.

ENDS

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