The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that continuing security problems are hampering operations in some parts of Afghanistan, especially in the west of the country where food stocks are running short and thousands of the most vulnerable people may soon see critical food supplies curtailed or interrupted.
"WFP has been unable to move food to the western region of Afghanistan for four weeks due to insecurity. Unless we can resume movement along the southern ring road soon, we will run out of food in the west in the coming weeks, and will have to reduce or suspend distributions to many of the poor families, children and internally displaced people living in those areas," said Rick Corsino, Country Director for WFP Afghanistan.
"We continue to work with Government authorities at central, provincial and district level, as well as our own transporters, to enable deliveries to resume, hopefully as soon as possible," Corsino added.
WFP currently has 14,800 metric tons of food ready to move in Quetta, Pakistan, with transporters and trucks available to resume shipments across the border into Afghanistan when conditions permit.
Most of the security problems are concentrated in western and southern Afghanistan but there are also similar concerns in some areas of the east. In northern and central Afghanistan, and in many parts of the south and east, WFP operations are continuing as normal.
Since June 2006, there have been 25 incidents involving trucks carrying WFP food throughout Afghanistan. An estimated 600 tons of food has been lost, valued at approximately 400,000 dollars. Most trucks are provided by commercial transporters and are not marked as United Nations or WFP.
The majority of incidents involving WFP food have taken place on the southern ring road, which is a major artery linking Kandahar to Herat. The provinces of Paktika and Ghazni in the eastern region have also become difficult to reach.