US Military Food Airdrops Condemned as '\'Catastrophe'\': UN Official

Published October 15th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

A UN-appointed official dealing with hunger on Monday condemned US airdrops of food rations in Afghanistan as a catastrophe for humanitarian aid and warned that the US was effectively feeding Taliban fighters. 

Jean Ziegler, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said the airdrops of food by the same military force dropping bombs on Afghanistan undermined the credibility of humanitarian aid. 

He said aid deliveries needed to be supervised on the ground. 

"As special rapporteur I must condemn with the last ounce of energy this operation called snowdropping, it is totally catastrophic for humanitarian aid, for all the extraordinary work that UN agencies and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) are doing," Ziegler told journalists. 

US military transport aircraft have been dropping thousands of rations over Afghanistan while separate bombing raids continue, amid warnings that millions of Afghans are short of food. 

The practice is known in the humanitarian community as "snowdropping", because it scatters indvidual packages over a relatively wide area. 

Ziegler, who was appointed by the UN human rights commission to examine the impact of hunger on human rights said: "If there is no one to receive it on the ground, to distribute or to do the humanitarian work, it's obvious that the man with gun picks it up. So Americans are feeding the Taliban every night," he added -- Geneva, (AFP)  


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