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As troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, will aid follow?

In this Aug. 21, 2019, photo, Bibi Warai, right, holds her granddaughter, Humaira, who is suffering from malnutrition, as a nurse checks her feet in a ward at the Indira Gandhi hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. Whimpering and badly malnourished, the children are among the most vulnerable in a country that remains one of the poorest in the world. Now an expected United States-Taliban agreement to end nearly 18 years of fighting raises questions about whether humanitarian aid will decline as foreign troops withdraw. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

JEBUL SIRAJ, Afghanistan — Afghan children, whimpering and badly malnourished, are among the most vulnerable in a country that’s one of the poorest in the world.

Now an expected United States-Taliban agreement to end nearly 18 years of fighting raises questions about whether the foreign aid largely propping up Afghanistan will fall as troops withdraw. Much depends on the Taliban, who have indicated they want that aid to continue.

But if the insurgents, who already control roughly half of Afghanistan, become part of the political life and try to assert a harsh form of Islamic law across the country or continue their attacks, some donors could walk away.

Some 2 million children in Afghanistan face acute malnutrition, according to UNICEF, about 600,000 of them so severely malnourished that without urgent treatment they could die.

Cara Anna, The Associated Press