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Bush Promises Food Aid Effort for Afghanistan - 2001-10-19

President Bush said the United States will do all it can to see that food aid reaches the people of Afghanistan. But Mr. Bush said America will not agree to a request from relief organizations for a suspension of attacks on Taleban and terrorist targets.

Leading aid organizations have said Afghanistan faces a humanitarian crisis this winter. President Bush said the fault lies with the Taleban regime. "The Taleban government is seizing food," he said. "The Taleban government refuses to allow for an efficient distribution of aid that has been assembled to help the Afghan people."

Speaking to reporters covering the Pacific Rim summit in Shanghai, Mr. Bush said U.S. military operations are being conducted in a way that does not disrupt aid shipments, noting American planes are also air dropping food packages. "We will continue to do everything we can to make sure that our commitment to aid to the Afghan people is fulfilled," he said.

President Bush noted the United States is currently the leading donor of aid to Afghanistan. He recently approved more than $300 million in additional humanitarian assistance.