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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 04:26 GMT 05:26 UK
UN warns of Afghan food shortage
Afghan poppy farmer
Poppy farming is being blamed for food shortages
Nearly two million people in southern Afghanistan will need food aid this winter because of drought, the UN and Afghan government have warned.

They have appealed for more than $40m in emergency funds, in addition to an earlier appeal for $76m.

Afghanistan is facing a shortfall in its wheat harvest just after beginning to recover from an earlier drought.

The crop failure comes as fighting continues in the south between Nato-led troops and the Taleban.

The food shortage is being blamed on intensified fighting against Taleban insurgents in the troubled southern provinces and expanding cultivation of opium poppies instead of food.

In July, UK charity Christian Aid warned that millions of people in Afghanistan faced starvation after a drought destroyed crops.

A survey of 66 villages suggested farmers in the worst affected areas had lost all their produce.

Less than half of the $76m in emergency funds sought in July have been received so far.

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