KABUL (AFP) - Some 840,000 dollars' worth of food destined for needy Afghans has been lost so far this year in attacks, the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) said Monday. From January to mid-November there were 25 armed attacks against WFP convoys inside Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of about 870 tonnes of food worth 520,000 dollars, it said in a statement. Another 610 tonnes, valued at 320,000 dollars, was lost in the northwest frontier area of Pakistan en route to Afghanistan, it said. The WFP did not make clear who was behind all of the violence, but attacks are most often blamed on bandits and militants, including those from the extremist Taliban group. The agency said rising food prices, drought and poverty mean about nine million people in Afghanistan need food assistance, but volatile security has made it difficult to deliver food to them. "Not only in the south and southwestern regions where the situation has been continuously deteriorating, now some eastern and central provinces are also affected by increasing insecurity which hinders and can delay WFP's food movement," the statement said. The programme has only managed to distribute about 23,000 of a planned 36,000 tonnes of food to some 950,000 needy Afghans ahead of winter, it said. Years of drought and conflict, which has destroyed irrigation systems and other essentials for farming, mean Afghanistan has to import food, particularly the staple wheat, which has almost doubled in price in some areas this year. The government and its donors need to invest in high-yielding seed varieties to help the country produce all the food it needs, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative Tekeste Tekie told reporters Monday. "Though the emergency measures for drought- and winter-affected farmers is essential, FAO always emphasises food production for human and animal consumption inside the country," he said. Meanwhile, France said Monday it had dropped plans to deport Afghan migrants aboard a plane chartered with Britain after several NGOs urged the government to have a rethink. Several rights groups had raised alarm over the plan for a Franco-British charter flight to repatriate refugees from both countries on Tuesday. "Conditions are not right for a return, notably due to the situation in Afghanistan and in light of the criteria usually observed by the UNHCR," the UN refugee agency, French foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said. Six non-governmental organisations working in Afghanistan had appealed to the French government earlier Monday to not carry out the expulsions, warning they would have "negative consequences for France's image." French immigration officials last week said British authorities had asked them to "take part" in the repatriation flight. The immigration ministry said it was considering the offer but that "nothing would be done without the green light from the UNHCR." It would have been the first group repatriation to Afghanistan from France since 2005. In London, a British home office spokesman declined to comment on the decision. But the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns said it welcomed the decision. "We hope France does not resume any expulsions to Afghanistan," a spokesman said. "However, the UK will continue to expel Afghans from the UK and have not cancelled tomorrow's flight."