Taliban launch food-for-work programme in Afghanistan

Taliban launches food-for-work programme as UN warns 'millions' could starve in Afghanistan
1 min read
25 October, 2021
The programme aims to tackle rising hunger and unemployment with the onset of what could be a harsh winter.
Zabihullah Mujahid, Chief spokesman for the Taliban, speaks at the launch of the food-for-work programme [AFP]

Afghanistan's new Taliban government has launched a food-for-work programme providing vulnerable Afghans with wheat in exchange for their labour, a group official said on Sunday.

The scheme will employ thousands of men in several of the country’s main cities, including 40,000 men in Kabul, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a press briefing.

Participants will be tasked with public works, such as digging irrigation canals and trenches to hold off snow ahead of winter.

The Taliban government said it will distribute 65,000 tons of wheat to the workers' families to compensate them for their work.

"This is an important step for fighting unemployment," Mujahid said at the briefing.

Afghanistan faces rising poverty, high unemployment and skyrocketing food insecurity, after much of its international aid was frozen since the Taliban's takeover in mid-August.

The World Food Programme (WFP) warned that 22.8 million people - more than half of Afghanistan's population - were facing acute food insecurity and "marching to starvation" compared to 14 million just two months ago.

On Sunday, local media reported the death by hunger of eight children from the same family. The UN warned that "millions" more could die from starvation unless urgent action was taken.