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India sends 2,500 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan

India has sent 50 trucks carrying 2,500 tonnes of wheat for crisis-hit Afghanistan after Pakistan gave “exceptional” permission for the shipment to pass through, officials said Wednesday.

Western countries sharply reduced aid after the Taliban takeover last year, leaving Afghanistan facing a “devastating” humanitarian crisis with a majority of the 28 million population in need of help, according to the United Nations.

In response to an appeal from the UN, India decided to gift 5,000 tonnes of wheat and the first convoy of lorries was flagged off by officials on Tuesday at a ceremony in Amritsar near the border with Pakistan.

India’s arch-rival said Pakistan said that it “agreed on an exceptional basis” to allow the shipment to traverse through its territory.

Islamabad had suspended trade with India in 2019 after New Delhi rescinded the partial autonomy of Indian-administered Kashmir, which both countries claim in full.

India, which had close relations to the previous Western-backed Afghan government, has also donated 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, 13 tonnes of medicines and winter clothing. 

Farid Mamundzay, Afghan ambassador to India, tweeted that the wheat donation is “one of the largest food contributions done by any country to support (Afghanistan) in this difficult hour.”

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