Pakistan ~~ Monday November 26 2007
Taliban burn aid agency food: officials
Wana, the capital town of South Waziristan in Pakistan's Federally Administrated Tribal Area, and the border with Afghanistan, Waziristan Province, Pakistan
WANA: Local Taliban militants seized and burned thousands of kilogrammes of food destined for pregnant women from a hospital in South Waziristan, officials said on Sunday.
The food, mainly lentils and cooking oil, had been supplied by the aid charity Save the Children to feed pregnant women suffering from malnutrition.
A Taliban activist said they were destroyed because "foreign NGOs want to harm our future generations." An administration official, Tariq Salim, said the Health Ministry officials had not consulted him before distributing food directly to the women. Meanwhile, in North Waziristan, three people were killed and five wounded when troops conducted "retaliatory" strikes on suspected militant hideouts in Mir Ali, local officials said. Several houses were destroyed in the strikes that came after militants hit a checkpost with a missile barrage. One soldier was wounded in the rocket attack late Saturday, they said. Afp
Pakistan ~~ November 28 2007 Wednesday Ziqa’ad 17, 1428
An inhumane act
SOMETIMES it is impossible to understand the rationale behind what the local Taliban do. Their burning of goods meant for pregnant women in South Waziristan on Sunday is one example of that. They justify their act because they believe that any aid coming from a western organisation has only one purpose to harm future generations of Muslims and to reduce the Muslim population. It is sadly children and women who suffer on account of the illogical ways of the Taliban, and this time it is no different. In this case an NGO wanted to directly give food and cooking oil to pregnant women suffering from malnutrition, but lax security meant that the Taliban could easily take away the goods from the hospital they were stored in and destroy them. Thus they have done more harm to future generations but who will explain that to them? The administration on its part maintains that it would have been advisable for the NGO to give the authorities the goods for distribution to avoid any untoward incident. Perhaps the government does not realise that it suffers from a credibility problem.
This incident highlights the government’s failure at getting aid to people in conflict-ridden areas as well as calamity-hit ones. The country’s maternal healthcare is dismal with the mortality rate at 500 per 100,000 live births. There are no statistics for the tribal areas but it is safe to assume that they are higher. If the government has not absolved itself of its responsibility of providing healthcare to the people, it should give priority to the distribution of goods meant for the people’s betterment. By the same token the government must reach out to NGOs and work with them to ensure that goods get to the people who deserve them the most.