Published: 11:11, March 19, 2023 | Updated: 17:44, March 19, 2023
Funding shortfall forces food ration cuts for millions of hungry Afghans

Afghan children hover along a street in Fayzabad district of Badakhshan province on March 3, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

KABUL - The UN World Food Programme has been forced to cut rations to 4 million Afghans this month, it said in a statement late on Friday, due to a funding shortfall in the midst of the country's severe humanitarian crisis.

"Due to funding constraints, at least four million people will receive just half of what they need to get by in March," the UN food agency said, adding it urgently needs $93 million in funding to reach 13 million people in Afghanistan in April.

Since the Taliban took over in 2021 the already poor country has plunged deeper into economic crisis and foreign governments cut development funding and enforced sanctions on the banking sector.

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Some officials, including from the United Nations, have expressed concerns that donors would pull back on the country's huge humanitarian aid program after a series of restrictions on women the Taliban administration put in place last year, including barring most Afghan female non-government organization staff from work in December.