Taliban: 500 Children Starve in Afghanistan
Nearly 500 children starved to death in western Afghanistan last week, the Taliban militia's ambassador to Pakistan said Thursday as he appealed for greater international aid.
"This is a very sad situation and we call upon the world community to come forward and fulfil their obligation to save millions of Afghans from death," Ambassador Abdul Salam Zaeef said.
UN officials have said "millions" of Afghans face famine this year due to a prolonged drought and the ongoing civil war between the Taliban and opposition forces.
But efforts to mobilise international support have been hindered by the Taliban's disregard for international opinion earlier this month when they destroyed ancient Buddhist statues to stop idolatry.
The fundamentalist Islamic militia which controls most of the country accuses the world of ignoring the humanitarian crisis while punishing ordinary Afghans with sanctions.
"Let's forget about Buddhas and focus on saving millions of people in Afghanistan from hunger and misery brought on them by sanctions imposed by the United Nations," Zaeef said.
The United Nations imposed fresh political and diplomatic sanctions on the regime in January for their refusal to extradite indicted terrorist Osama bin Laden, but insists the curbs do not affect trade or humanitarian relief.
"We want to settle all issues peacefully with our neighbors and with any country that has problems or difficulties with us. We are ready to go to their places for peaceful settlement of all disputes," Zaeef said – ISLAMABAD
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)