First UN aid convoy crosses Taliban frontline

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A UN AID convoy has crossed the front line in Afghanistan, north of the capital Kabul, allowing aid to reach the tens of thousands of refugees stranded in the opposition-held Panjshir Valley.

Eight UN trucks filled with food, blankets and plastic sheeting have crossed the front line. In all, the UN wants to bring in several hundred trucks of aid to the region, which is surrounded by areas controlled by the Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalist force that controls most of Afghanistan. The refugees fled to the area to escape fighting in the summer.

After the Taliban were pushed out of the valley in the summer, many people were able to return home or at least harvest their crops. But those whose homes lie on the Taliban side of the front line have been stranded. Winter snows have now cut off roads to the north.

The UN will now be able to use the safe corridor from Kabul to deliver aid in bulk, to an area where up to 10 per cent of the displaced children are suffering malnutrition.

Kate Clark is the BBC correspondent in Afghanistan