I’m pondering what climate change means – how do people define global warming? Do we think of melting ice caps in terms of rising ocean levels, threatened animal habitats, increasingly violent unpredictable weather? Do we think about it at all? Are we so confused by anti warming propaganda, it languishes on the back burner? How many ponder a connection between climate change and the Taliban?
Founded in 1994 by Mohammed Omar, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 1996. Iron fist Islamic fundamentalists, Taliban rule outraged the global community. Brutal justice, horrific oppression of women and terrorist agendas raised eyebrows long before 9/11. One of the first Taliban edicts – eradication of opium poppy fields as an offense to Islam, From 1996 to the 2001 ousting of Taliban rule – Afghanistan, supplier of 60% world heroin, grew wheat crops.
Following 9/11, 2001, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan sent Taliban packing. Unfortunately for farmers, 2001 coincided with a period of unprecedented drought. Wheat is a thirsty crop, opium poppies thrive on 1/6 the water. Taliban insurgents needed money, soldiers and safe havens – devastated farmers had to feed their families. America’s “war on drugs” didn’t negate drought or put food on tables – Taliban hit ground with a solution. In exchange for “taxes”, recruits and absolute indifference to caching weapons or hiding insurgents – they would protect impoverished farmers choice of crops. Drought resistant poppies sustained a population whose only choice became Taliban loyalty or starvation.
Far from suggesting Afghanistan’s untimely drought was a direct result of climate change – it’s worth considering implications beyond rising sea levels. Consequences exist without apology – every action comes with reaction.
Ponder global warming and climate change outside parameters of linear reason. Instead of dismissing mind numbing rhetoric, wrap your head around drought and Taliban support. It doesn’t take a genius to realize – problems simmer deeper than you believed.