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ISLAMABAD: Thousands of people gathered in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province on Saturday to pray for rain as the drought in the region continues, causing mounting desperation.

Kandahar information and culture department chief Hafiz Saidullah told dpa that tens of thousands of people from towns and villages had joined the ceremony.

The participants prayed for rain and an end to the drought, after many years marked by the absence of rain and snow. The Taliban’s supreme leader also sent a message to attendees, urging them to work harder, the official added. Images shared in social media showed no measures were in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as people stood close together at the event organized by the Taliban.

During periods of drought, Muslims traditionally pray for rain to fertilize the fields and crops.

Currently, Afghanistan is experiencing one of the worst droughts and food shortages in decades, with a humanitarian crisis looming.

The landlocked nation largely relies on rain and snow during winter but 80 per cent of the country is suffering from the long-lasting drought. The United Nations has warned that more than half of the country’s population could face acute hunger this winter due to the impact of drought, conflict, the coronavirus pandemic, and the ongoing economic crisis.--dpa

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