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Afghanistan 10 Tears Later: Starvation Threatens War-Torn Country

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October 7th marks the 10 year anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. And as if war has not been enough, famine is descending upon Afghans.

Drought has struck 14 provinces in Afghanistan. Crops have been ruined and food supplies are almost gone. The charity Oxfam says, “Nearly three quarters of the people living in the affected areas say that they will run out of food in less than two months.”

As famine conditions have strengthened, funding for UN World Food Programme (WFP) has diminished. The UN food agency relies entirely on voluntary donations.

WFP was forced to cut school meals for hundreds of thousands of Afghan children earlier this year. In a country deeply mired in poverty, school meals are a lifeline the children desperately need.

Afghanistan has one of the highest rates of hunger and malnutrition in the entire world. If this crisis, which is often ignored by policymakers, were given more attention many of Afghanistan’s ills could be remedied. For food is the foundation of peace, education and literacy, and maybe most of all hope. Hope and Afghanistan are two words not often associated.

There is talk of donor fatigue when it comes to Afghanistan and hunger relief in general, but this is nonsense. Food aid programs make up less than one tenth of one percent of the entire federal budget.

Congress has proposed reducing funding for the Food for Peace and other hunger fighting  programs. This is such a mistake when peace in Afghanistan and other parts of the world depend on fighting hunger.

After World War II, when a CARE package center was opened in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio people flocked there to buy food for hungry people overseas. The first one to do so was a former World War I infantryman.

The first World War saw immense human suffering from both warfare and the resulting famine, and this donor had compassion and first-hand understanding of their plight. Americans from that generation did not suffer from donor fatigue, and continued feeding the hungry during the war and afterwards. Following the Second World War millions more were saved, and Europe was rebuilt from the important foundation of food.

Today, we cannot forget about Afghanistan nor let the people suffer. On this 10 year anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, let’s work to win the peace. It can start with fighting hunger.

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.
  • Matt

    Your god damn right starvation. Look at the median age fighting age, the birth rate, the age demographic of social stratification. That can sustain a civil war/insurgency for decades. I would use the bomb if I could.

  • Peter Marks

    The mission of U.S. forces in Afghanistan is to help the people of Afghanistan. The helping of the people would be a lot better than it is were the troops not to have to fight al Qaeda as the fighting takes the time and manpower away from the people who need help the most. There will be many more civilian deaths in Afghanistan due to starvation just because the aid can’t get to them soon enough. Why don’t our troops just leave Afghanistan and give the citizens the food they need and let them take care of themselves for a change. Our brave warriors have done enough and it is time to come home to their families and loved ones. Bring them home now, not next year, but right now.

  • gwen

    this is so sad i think we need to do something about this

  • Igor

    This god-forsaken war threatens to engulf the entire nation with it’s shear immorality, violence and malevolence.

    Is it really possible that American citizens really think that returning vets will simply choke back the horror that they’ve seen and participated in in those dreadful wars and not speak out?

    Suicide


    1. More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat

    For the second year (2010) in a row, more US soldiers killed themselves (468) than died in combat (462). “If you… know the one thing that causes people to commit suicide, please let us know,” General Peter Chiarelli told the Army Times, “because we don’t know.” Suicide is a tragic but predictable human reaction to being asked to kill, and watch your friends be killed , particularly when it’s for a war based on lies. Perhaps being required to bag the mangled flesh of fellow soldiers could be another reason that some are committing suicide.

    Body Bagging… ever heard the term? Marines in the Corps’s Mortuary Affairs unit at Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, are assigned the job of collecting and cataloging the bodies of dead Marines. They sift through the remains and effects, from prom photos to suicide notes and love letters, and put them into a bag, then into a metal box and then into a refrigerator to await the flight home. One soldier, Jess Goodell, recounts a Marine brought into the unit still breathing. She frantically called to her superiors, who replied simply, “Wait.” She watched while he died. When she returned to the US, Goodell, like many others, was diagnosed with deep depression, substance abuse, PTSD and anxiety.