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Escape of Afghan peasants exacerbates Taliban ruler rural crisis

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Mohammad has cultivated the lush lands of Wardak, a province near Kabul, throughout his life. Gray-bearded farmers managed apple and apricot tree orchards, wheat fields, and dozens of animals, from cows to sheep.

His animals have gone, orchards have been hit by droughts, and Mohammad is now logging barren trees for firewood. “I never imagined they were a farm. They look like deserts,” he said of his land.

The drought and economic crisis that surrounds Afghanistan’s rural areas will be one of the biggest challenges for Afghanistan. New Taliban RulerWhat the international aid group fears will be involved in a humanitarian crisis.

The solar wells that helped irrigate Mohammad’s land have been depleted as well as two nearby streams. The drought this year was terrible and the Mohammad family was short of drinking water. “We decided to leave this summer.”

His family is now scattered. His five sons emigrated to work in Kabul as workers, drivers, or security guards. He is thinking of traveling west to find a job as a peasant in someone else’s land.

Rural areas of Afghanistan are home to about three-quarters of the country’s population of about 40 million, most of whom rely directly or indirectly on agriculture. However, repeated droughts, one of the consequences of a country hit hard by climate change, threaten the livelihoods and food security of millions of people.

Poppy cultivation presents a major challenge to the Taliban © Muhammad / EPA / Shutterstock

Taliban Much of its foundation is drawn from rural communities, where very conservative restrictions such as women are more easily accepted than in cities. However, as the country faces loss of foreign aid, inflation and cash shortages, analysts say the Taliban are not well equipped to manage chronic drought and massive poverty in rural areas. rice field.

The United Nations has warned about famine, with one-third of the population already starving and more people at risk.

“It’s not just drought. There’s this huge inflation because of this political crisis … Of course, a liquidity crisis will occur and borders will be closed to trade,” said the overseas development institute, a think tank. Ashley Jackson said.

“In addition to the drought, it is this perfect storm that has removed all the factors that could help people survive and deal with it.”

Afghanistan is plagued by dramatic changes in its climate. Irregular spring rains and winter snowfalls are causing more droughts and floods elsewhere, according to a 2016 UN report warning that droughts will occur each year. ..

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said that more than 80 percent of the country is experiencing drought.

The crisis was exacerbated by population pressure and decades of war. According to the World Bank, Afghanistan’s population has almost doubled since the Taliban’s reign in the 1990s, but many of the battles over the last two decades have taken place in rural areas and fields, damaging crops and trading. Is confusing and killing tens of thousands of people. ..

Afghan women carry saffron flowers
Women in Afghanistan have saffron flowers, but poppies need less water to grow and have proven to be a lifeline for poor communities © Hoshang Hashimi / AFP / Getty

Haji Yang, a vineyard in the Shamari Plain near Kabul, was able to export fruit to Pakistan after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, thanks to newly paved roads and refrigerated trucks. I remember how it started. “Our business was great,” he said.

But as the conflict intensified, even the roads and canals that helped irrigate his fields were blocked. This year’s harvest was largely lost as the battle between the Taliban and Afghan troops paralyzed trade. “I was too anxious,” he said. His best grape harvest “turned into dust.”

The Taliban must decide what to do with poppies, Afghanistan’s most important crop. Despite billions of dollars in eradication efforts, poppy cultivation has tripled since the invasion of the United States. Philip A Berry, a researcher at King’s College London, says this is the lifeblood of a poor community and employs hundreds of thousands of people in the country.

The Taliban, which funded the rebellion through drugs, vowed to curb poppy growth for international acceptance. This could cause rural residents who would otherwise be grateful for the end of the war to oppose them, Berry warned.

“All previous opium bans in the last two decades show that any ban is likely to be short-lived unless economic alternatives are implemented,” he said. “In such a scenario, the new administration will lose local support and face potentially violent resistance.”

Agriculture no longer provides security for Gul Jan. He still lives on his own land in the same Wardak district as Mohammad, but no longer works as a farm, but as a bus conductor in Kabul. His brothers, who were farming with him, moved to Iran to work as workers.

His apple and apricot orchards are now a source of firewood to keep them warm in the winter. His family is trying to keep the trees that remain in the mud compound alive by bathing next to them and allowing the spilled water to penetrate the soil.

But he accepts that their efforts are in vain. “They are dying,” he said. “We know they will die, so there is nothing more we can do.”

Escape of Afghan peasants exacerbates Taliban ruler rural crisis

Source link Escape of Afghan peasants exacerbates Taliban ruler rural crisis

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