Pakistan allows Indian aid transit to Afghanistan

An Elderly Afghan Man Harvesting Wheat on the Outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan July 13, 2021. REUTERS / Mohammad Ismail / File Photo

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ISLAMABAD, November 23 (Reuters) – Pakistan’s cabinet on Tuesday authorized arch-rival India to use its land route to send wheat aid to neighboring Afghanistan, where millions of people face starvation as a harsh winter sets in.

Islamabad will also send aid, the prime minister’s office said in a statement, including 50,000 tonnes of wheat, equivalent to the level sent by India.

“We have agreed to allow passage of these 50,000 tonnes of wheat that India wants to send to Afghanistan,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said at a news conference after the government met with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.

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“We believe that the people of Afghanistan must be helped in some way for humanitarian reasons,” he said.

New Delhi has not responded to the announcement.

Pakistan has for years denied India commercial or other transport links to Afghanistan. Neighbors have fought three wars since Pakistan was cut off from India in 1947.

Prime Minister Khan’s office said in a statement that Islamabad would send humanitarian aid to Kabul worth 5 billion rupees ($ 28.65 million) and include food, including 50,000 tonnes of wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter cabins and other supplies.

It also said Pakistan would facilitate the return of Afghan patients sent to India for medical treatment.

A combination of conflict, drought and COVID-19 has left millions in Afghanistan, under Taliban rule, facing starvation or starvation.

Food prices have risen since the second drought in four years destroyed about 40% of the wheat crop, the World Food Program (WFP) has, a UN agency said. Read more

It said that Afghanistan is facing a shortage of 2.5 million tonnes of wheat and that only 5% of the population has enough to eat.

($ 1 = 174,5500 Pakistani rupees)

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Reporting by Asif Shahzad; editing by Barbara Lewis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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