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On Friday, CBS News published a story entitled “How Climate Change Strengthened the Taliban” in which reporter Cara Korte posited:
“Rural Afghanistan has been rocked by climate change. The past three decades have brought floods and drought that have destroyed crops and left people hungry. And the Taliban — likely without knowing climate change was the cause — has taken advantage of that pain.”
Korte connected the Taliban’s strength to climate change through interviews with experts. For example, she stated that Afghan farmers were forced to borrow money when they couldn’t turn a profit due to extreme weather and other climate stressors and that the Taliban stepped in and sowed seeds of resentment against the former Afghan government. She quoted Kamal Alam of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center who said, “If you’ve lost your crop and land or the Afghan government hasn’t paid enough attention [to you] then of course, the Taliban can come and exploit it.” Similarly, Nadim Farajalla, the director of the climate change and environment program at the American University of Beirut explained, “[Farmers] fall into choices. That’s when they 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 Conservative Critique
The conservative critics responded on Twitter that the story was “perfect for the conservative satirical website The Babylon Bee.” But they did not provide any counter-evidence of the story’s facts. A week ago, Pompeo argued on Fox News Sunday, “So this is in the context of the Biden administration that has basically abandoned the global stage in favor of climate change.”
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