KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — The Taliban administration is expanding its “food for work” program, which pays Afghanistan's public sector employees in wheat instead of cash, Reuters reported.

Wheat, which was mostly donated by India to the previous US-backed government, is being used to pay 40,000 workers 40 kg per five-hour working day, agriculture officials said.

The program mostly was being used to pay laborers on public works programs but now will be expanded around the country.

Additional wheat donations have been received, including 18 tonnes from Pakistan with a promise of 37 tonnes more and negotiations are underway with India for 55 tonnes.

It was not clear how much of the donated wheat would be used as direct humanitarian aid and how much to pay workers, Reuters said.

Afghanistan is facing a growing economic crisis with international sanctions on Taliban members, frozen central bank assets and a sudden drop-off in international assistance.

Humanitarian aid has continued as foreign governments attempt to prevent millions from starving, Reuters said, but is designed to bypass Afghan government channels.