New Taliban rulers face drought, conflict & no jobs

Armed Taliban fighters stood guard at the closed airport in Kabul, where planes sat idle on the tarmac on Thursday, as Afghanistan's Taliban rulers prepared to unveil their new government and some residents worried about their new reality.

KABUL RESIDENT AASHEQULLAH HASAN: "I have no hope for the future, because you also better know the situation. Every person wants to go outside from country, because there have no jobs, there have no business, there have no facility for the people to do."

Growing economic hardship is emerging as the new Taliban government's biggest challenge.

But even before the Islamist militia's swift takeover two weeks ago, many Afghans were already struggling to feed their families as the country reels from its second drought in four years.

Video provided by the World Food Programme showed Afghan men and women waiting for basic rations at a U.N. food distribution center in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

52-YEAR-OLD AFGHAN MAN, DELAWAR: "There are no crops, no rain, no water and people are living in misery. This (food) is a great mercy from God and it really helps poor and needy people."

The World Food Programme says food prices have spiked since drought wiped out some 40% of the wheat crop, and the WFP's country director said millions of Afghans could soon face starvation.

WFP COUNTRY DIRECTOR IN AFGHANISTAN, MARY-ELLEN MCGROARTY: "The situation that we have unfolding at the moment is absolutely horrendous and could morph into just a humanitarian catastrophe."

Adding to the misery of drought and an economy on the verge of collapse is continued conflict.

On Thursday, fighters loyal to local leader Ahmad Massoud - seen here marching last week - battled Taliban forces in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley, the last province resisting rule by the Taliban.

Each side said it had inflicted heavy casualties. And the rebel fighters have pledged to hold out against the Taliban for as long as they can.

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