CBS News blames the reemergence of the Taliban on 'climate change'

But in doing so, the outlet highlights Afghanistan's reliance on opium poppies and connects that back to support for the Taliban.

Nick Monroe Cleveland Ohio

In talking about climate change, western media inadvertently highlighted Afghanistan's drug trade.

As highlighted in a piece by The Independent, there's a long standing history to "cash crop" drugs in Afghanistan being a part of the country's infrastructure.

Agriculture is at the forefront of attention for the Afghan economy but also the cause of fighting. Over half of Afghans rely on agriculture for income, but more than 80 percent of the conflict in the country is over natural resources.

CBS in its reporting frames "climate change" causing farms to fail as the start of a pipeline for joining the Taliban.  A member of the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center claimed the Taliban pried upon those the previous Afghan government neglected, in the case of the farming community.

Nadim Farajalla of the American University of Beirut agreed with that assessment. The director of the university's of the climate change and environment program said that farmers "become prey to people who would tell them, 'Look, the government is screwing you over and this land should be productive. They're not helping you. Come and join us; let's topple this government.'"

The CBS article finishes off on mentioning the popularity of Afghanistan’s opium poppies, stating that poppies don't need as much water as other crops, and that there's a correlation between it being grown in the southern part of the country and Taliban popularity.

Vanda Felbab-Brown warned against the Taliban's commitment to making Afghanistan poppy-free: "If they went to go for the ban quickly, they would cause themselves a huge economic downturn. They would set off massive miseration of the population. And they would have real problems with maintaining stability."

A report from Reuters earlier this week said the US spent more than $8 billion over the last fifteen years to combat Afghanistan's opium and heroin drug trade. The report says back in 2000, the ruling Taliban government at that time had also banned poppy growing in order to appeal to international interests.

But they soon after backed down after the critical response their move received.


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