UN agency reports three million children malnourished in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) marked World Food Day by announcing that three million children in Afghanistan are suffering from malnutrition.

In a statement on X, the organization said it can only provide assistance to 1.3 million of these malnourished children.

“Last year, we were expecting around 800,000 pregnant and lactating women across the country to be malnourished. However, we exceeded that number in the clinics,” said Mona Shaikh, head of Nutrition at WFP Afghanistan. “We reached 1.2 million. And this year, we are expecting even higher numbers, unfortunately. For the children, it’s estimated that three million will be malnourished in Afghanistan this year. However, we will be able to reach just about 1.6 million of those,” she said.

Shaikh added that WFP has already had to cut down critical food rations to families, which will likely lead to increased malnutrition.

The organization cited the immediate impacts of recent floods, long-term droughts, and the return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan and Iran as factors exacerbating the current situation.

According to new figures from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), 28 percent of Afghanistan’s population—about 12.4 million people—will face “acute food insecurity” before October. Of these, 2.4 million are expected to experience “emergency levels of hunger,” falling below the poverty line.

The report also highlighted that poverty affects one in every two Afghans.