The weather has shifted from early fall warmth to a brisk chill. Drought has been reported in several regions, adding to the sense of impending disaster.
This is a country that is beginning to experience the very real threat of starvation.
A gathering of several hundred men had assembled at Maidan Wardak, 50 kilometres west of Kabul, in the hopes of receiving grain from an official distribution site. The World Food Programme provided the flour.
The crowd was kept fairly quiet by Taliban guards, but those who were told they weren’t qualified for a handout were angered and terrified.
The World Food Programme (WFP) will have to increase its supplies to Afghanistan in order to help more than 22 million people.
“Winter is almost here,” one older man observed. “I’m not sure how I’ll make it if I can’t make bread.”
If the weather turns out to be as severe as forecasters say this winter, significant numbers of people would face acute hunger and widespread famine.
Before the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August, there was optimism that, with foreign assistance, President Ashraf Ghani’s government would be able to deal with the threat of a harsh winter. When Mr. Ghani’s government fell apart, that assistance vanished.
Western countries have shut off aid to the country because they don’t want to be regarded as supporting a regime that forbids girls from attending school and wants to reinstate the full gamut of sharia punishments.
Will such governments simply stand by and let millions of innocent people starve to death?
Mr. Beasley challenges developed-world governments and billionaires to acknowledge the urgent need for assistance.
“Imagine this was your little girl, your little boy, or your grandchild ready to starve to death,” he addressed to world leaders and billionaires. “You’d do everything you could, and shame on us when there’s $400 trillion worth of riches on the planet today.”
“We allow any child to starve to death. We should be ashamed of ourselves. I don’t give a damn about where that child is “