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Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 11:38 GMT
Kandahar 'no go' for aid convoys
Food aid arrives in northern Afghanistan
Aid arrives - but some areas are cut off from deliveries
The UN's World Food Programme says armed militias and interfactional fighting are hampering aid delivery to the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.

The WFP's Jordan Dey described the city as a "no go" area for the UN, where armed groups were stopping trucks and demanding tolls.

However, the authorities in the former Taleban stronghold insist the city is safe for the UN to return.

With no food aid getting through to Kandahar, more than 230,000 people in the region may be at risk, Mr Dey told the BBC.

Afghan refugees preparing food
Six million people depend on hand-outs from relief agencies

"The problem with Kandahar is general insecurity - violence and fighting around the outskirts of town."

"There is a lack of authority, there is a lack of control and there is a lack of security."

"Right now Kandahar is a no-go area for the UN," Mr Dey said.

Armed militia are demanding $100 from each truck trying to enter the city, according to the WFP.

'Kandahar is safe'

However, Khaled Pashtun, a spokesman for the city's new governor, denied this.

He told the BBC the highways were regularly patrolled and there was no fighting in the city.

Mr Pashtun said it was absolutely safe for the UN to return to the city and preparations for a resumption of relief efforts were under way.

"The governor of Kandahar has provided three huge warehouses to store food aid," he said.

Afghan refugee family
Thousands of refugees remain in camps inside Afghanistan

The WFP's own warehouses and offices in the city were looted and destroyed during the hostilities preceding the Taleban surrender earlier in December.

Elsewhere in the country, the WFP says relief operations were going well - despite difficult weather conditions.

"We are serving six million people in Afghanistan and that is using between 2,000 and 2,500 trucks, barges, rail cars and even airplanes. We are moving record amounts of food into Afghanistan this month", Jordan Dey said.

But he also stressed that security remained a general concern:

"There are no safe areas in Afghanistan. We are confronting insecurity and the relics of war everywhere."

See also:

21 Dec 01 | South Asia
Afghanistan hopes for global aid
20 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Afghan aid 'not getting through'
22 Dec 01 | South Asia
Karzai pledges peace and stability
19 Dec 01 | South Asia
Afghan aid resumes from Uzbekistan
11 Dec 01 | South Asia
Kandahar cut off from food convoys
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