Pakistan allows India to send wheat when hunger seizes Afghanistan

(Bloomberg) – Pakistan will allow India to send 50,000 tonnes of wheat through its territory to neighboring Afghanistan, which has been hit by a severe famine crisis as its economy has stalled since the Taliban took over in August, according to an Afghan official.

Islamabad agreed to allow shipments of land wheat almost a month after Kabul sought permission, Sulaiman Shah Zaheer, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Trade and Industry, said in a telephone interview.

“The problem is now solved and India can now send the wheat to Afghanistan via the Wagah border in Pakistan,” he said.

The aid will be the first such shipment from New Delhi, which does not yet recognize the country’s new Taliban regime. Pakistan, Iran and the UAE are among the other nations that have supplied Afghanistan with food and medical supplies. More than half of the country’s nearly 40 million people are likely to face acute food shortages, and nine million are already on the brink of starvation, according to a recent report from the World Food Program.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, had said that his country would “welcome the request from Afghan brothers for the transportation of wheat offered by India through Pakistan on an extraordinary basis,” in a statement following a meeting on November 12 with Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

There were no immediate comments from Pakistani officials on Monday.

Last month, Pakistan had rejected India’s request to ship the wheat due to the difficult relationship between the two South Asian nations.

© 2021 Bloomberg LP

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