MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Former South Carolina governor and Executive Director of the World Food Programme was in Afghanistan during the U.S. military’s withdrawal last week.

David Beasley and the World Food Programme are making meeting with Taliban leaders and making sure innocent Afghans don’t suffer.

Afghans are desperate for food and 14 million people in the country are heading towards starvation.

The World Food Programme is used to operating in war zones and areas of conflict. The organization was on the ground with truckloads moving food and supplies as the Taliban took over the nation.

“That’s the last thing we need to do is turn our back on the people, because they saw that the president fled the country, they see their own leadership, turning their back on the people, and we
don’t want to do that,” Beasley said.

To keep Afghan people from dying, Beasley is now relying on the Taliban.

“We have to negotiate work with whoever controls an area,” he said. “That’s why we’re in war zones. We work with both sides. We have no choice because we’re trying to reach the innocent victims of a conflict.”

The Taliban now controls 95% of Afghanistan. Beasley is working on how to maintain operations and get to the most difficult places in the country.

“We’ve had very frank conversations and so far quite shockingly, the Taliban has said to us, ‘We want you to do what you do. We don’t want to interfere,'” Beasley said. “They’ve actually provided protection and warehouses and some of our supply chain and our routes.”

The organization needs an additional $200 million in the next 45 days to pre-position food in difficult areas to reach in Afghanistan ahead of winter. Beasley said 4 million people are at risk of dying.

Food prices are skyrocketing in the region and Beasley said Afghan people could become vulnerable to extremist groups as a way of recruiting during difficult times. Beasley said if it’s not addressed, it could impact the U.S.

“It’ll cost you a hundred, fold more to neglect it. When you have broken down systems recruitment by Isis and Al-Qaeda, starvation, destabilization, and mass migration. There are no free lunches. If we do it strategically and the key is strategic effective international foreign aid, you do it right. It saves a lot of money,” Beasley said.

It’s not just Afghanistan. The number of people nearing starvation has doubled globally since the start of the pandemic. Beasley is also pushing to get World Food Programme workers on the front lines of third-world countries the COVID-19 vaccine.

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