Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Afghanistan’s bread shortage nears crisis proportions

Already saddled with extensive rural poverty and unremitting armed conflict, Afghanistan is experiencing increased suffering from a sharp inflation of bread prices stemming from domestic drought and the global food crisis, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Generations of Afghans have depended on cheap, readily-available bread as the staple of their diet. Such a supply was maintained through ample wheat harvests in Afghanistan and accessible wheat sold in Pakistan. However, since February, a combination of local drought and regional wheat and grain shortages has limited the amount produced in Afghanistan or accessible in Pakistan and other neighboring countries. The soaring bread prices that have resulted are a major blow to the already fragile nation.

The wheat shortage has only been kept from reaching crisis proportions through massive international charitable efforts and smuggling of flour through the closed Pakistani border.

Crisis or not, the rising prices have deepened public frustration with the Afghan government, which many see as weak and unprepared.

“Now our government is a beggar, just like we are,” said Wahidullah, 34, a carpenter trying to buy bread for his family in Kabul. “It is their duty to provide bread for the people and to be prepared for difficult situations. Even though it is a shame for us, we thank God they started buying flour from the Russians, or people would be eating each other.”

For the full article, click here.


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