UN food centers closed in northwest Pakistan

17:24, October 21, 2009      

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The United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) on Wednesday closed distribution centers serving more than two million people in northwest Pakistan over security fears, a spokesman for the agency said.

The move affecting the Swat Valley region comes after a suicide bomber attacked a WFP compound in the capital Islamabad, killing five aid workers this month.

"We have closed all our food distribution centers in Swabi, Charsadda, Mardan, Swat, Buner, Dir and Bajaur which are the humanitarian hubs for internally displaced people in the region," said Amjad Jamal, a spokesman for WFP in Islamabad.

"We are facing problems regarding security, so it was decided last night to close these centers," Jamal told media.

The spokesman said the closures were temporary and that the decision would be reviewed later in the week.

The food centers had been giving out supplies for those displaced this year by fighting between Pakistan's security forces and the Taliban militants around the Swat Valley, which forced around two million people to flee.

Although most have since returned home, many remain in need and2.2 million people received aid in the past month, said Jamal.

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