David Wood Headshot

Pentagon Alert: Freezing Afghan Refugees Need Your Help

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Getty Images

Winter has hit hard across Afghanistan, and nowhere more so than in camps for internally displaced Afghans, where some 450,000 desperate families have ended up after fleeing the war and its ravages. Among them are many children and elderly, and according to new report by Amnesty International, they are dying, from intense cold and malnutrition.
Apparently there are two causes: inadequate food and shelter, and the reluctance of local Afghan officials to help out for fear the refugees will become permanent residents in their district.
The Pentagon budget bill just signed by the President contained $88.5 billion for operations in Afghanistan. I bet there's money in there to pay for the needed blankets, tent, heaters and rations. A word from Defense Secretary Panetta would send those gifts to where they're needed (think of the great video!), and a sharp message to those local officials wouldn't be out of place: take care of your people.
Mr. Secretary?