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Kabul Korrespondence

Fresh, factual, and funky view of Afghanistan and the surrounding Central Asian region

The Wheat/Flour Crisis Continues

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pakistani militia 'murder' child flour smuggler

by quqnoos

7-year-old girl tossed under truck for smuggling flour, police say

PAKSITANI militiamen have killed a seven-year-old girl by pulling her under the wheels of a lorry because she was allegedly smuggling a 3kg bag of flour across the Pak-Afghan border, police officials said.

The killing on Thursday sparked clashes between the Afghan and Pakistani border police, but neither side suffered injuries.

Hundreds of children and adults have started to smuggle 3kg or 4 kg flour bags from Pakistan to Afghanistan because of sharp increases in the cost of wheat, caused in part by Pakistan’s ban on exports of the basic food.

The child smugglers say they are frequently beaten up by the Pakistani police when they are caught carrying flour into Afghanistan.

These children, aged between five to 12 years old, say they have to bring flour from Pakistan through the Torkham border crossing because flour is too expensive in the provincial capital of Nangarhar, Jalalabad.

One of the children told our reporter in Torkham: “When I carry a few kilograms of flour and cross the border, the Pakistani militias start beating me.”

Some of these children say that they are the only bread winners in their large families.

The recent rise in the cost of flour has been triggered by the failure of the Afghan government to sign a deal with Pakistan and Kazahkstan that would allow wheat to be imported from the two countries.

The cost of flour has more than doubled this year compared to last year in many parts of Afghanistan, and the cost of a piece of bread in parts of Kabul has risen from Afg6 to Afg20 in recent months.
posted by Travis, 1:37 pm

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