Humanitarian shipments of food and other supplies have begun flowing into Afghanistan, as the United States prepares to strike back for the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
A convoy of eight trucks left for Kabul from Pakistan's northern border city of Peshawar this (Sunday) morning, carrying 280 tons of wheat.
A U-N World Food Program convoy with 200 tons of wheat left Peshawar on Saturday and two additional convoys with another 200 tons of food will depart either today or tomorrow (Monday).
Another convoy of 25 trucks carrying children's winter clothing, food supplements, medicine and blankets left Saturday -- headed for Chitral in the far north of the country. The supplies, from the United Nations Children Fund, will be loaded onto four-thousand donkeys for a four-day journey across rugged mountains into Afghanistan. Some 500 porters will also take part in the operation.
The shipment's final destination is in the opposition-controlled province of Badakhshan in northwestern Afghanistan.
The W-F-P has begun an emergency airlift of food to Pakistan -- anticipating that any large-scale military action in Afghanistan could send a wave of more than one-million refugees fleeing their homes. Two U-N planes, each carrying 50 tons of high-energy biscuits, have flown from (Brindisi) Italy to Peshawar in anticipation of a refugee influx.
The United Nations estimates more than seven-million Afghans currently need help urgently.
The W-F-P is already feeding more than 100-thousand Afghan refugees in Pakistan and one-million inside Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been ravaged by 23 years of conflict, as well as the worst drought in more than three decades.
U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan has asked for 584-million dollars to aid Afghans facing what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.