Recently, the current leader of the militant group released a new announcement on social media urging Afghans to “plant one or several fruit or non-fruit trees for the beautification of Earth and the benefit of almighty Allah’s creations”.
Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, a religious scholar and head of the Taliban’s Islamic courts, became the new leader of the extremist movement in May 2016 following the death of their previous leader Mullah Mansour who was reportedly killed in a US drone strike.
Afghanistan suffers from devastating environmental issues. The long war between the Taliban and the US has destroyed many regions of the country, besides, there are severe problems with deforestation and a thriving illegal timber trade. Furthermore, most of the country’s population still uses wood-burning stoves for cooking and heating.
“Tree plantation plays an important role in environmental protection, economic development and beautification of earth,” says Akhundzada, in a report carried by the Afghan Taliban Voice of Jihad website. “Planting trees and agriculture are considered actions which hold both worldly good and benefit as well as immense rewards in the hereafter.” he added.
The announcement of a militant group fighting environmental change might sound very strange to anyone, however, the Taliban aren’t the first terrorist organization to propose changes to combat climate change. Former Al-Qaeda founder and leader Late Osama Bin Laden had also been sharing concerns on global warming more than six years ago. In an open letter to America, Osama wrote “You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and industries.”.
We all know the Taliban’s actions have always contradicted their statements. Today, they are more often associated with underground opium trades, terrorism, logging, etc and most importantly, their political views may never correlate with the rest of the world. But climate change is real. Funny how the terrorists seem to be the only ones bothered.