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UN: Many Afghans In ‘Absolute Poverty’

Internally displaced children carry water in Kabul. Many Afghans have no access to basic services like running water and electricity.
A new report says patronage, corruption, impunity, and over-emphasis on short-term security issues rather than targeted long-term development are exacerbating poverty in Afghanistan.

The report by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says that despite an injection of some $35 billion between 2002 and 2009, some 9 million Afghans, or 36 percent of the population, are believed to live "in absolute poverty."

This, it says, makes the population "extremely vulnerable to any adverse event, such as drought, floods, earthquakes or a nearby health facility running out of medication."

"The government is often unable to deliver basic services, such as security, food, or shelter," the report said, and "widespread corruption further limits access to services for a large proportion of the population."