KABUL (Pajhwok): Scientists and experts have long warned against the destructive impacts of climate change and urged that the phenomenon could lead to militancy, unemployment and other social and security challenges in parts of the world.
According to a report in the National Observer some experts say in some countries that connection is playing out in a disturbing way as people displaced or jobless by climate-related disasters in fragile states and war zones are driven to join militias, insurgencies or criminal organizations just to survive.
“I lost my income because of the drought, so I joined the armed group and fought for them to earn money,” said Norullah, who lives in Afghanistan and whose name has been changed for fear of retribution. “This is not what I wanted. Our family is farmers, but in the past few years, we couldn’t grow enough crops from our land and couldn’t earn enough income. There was no other job opportunity and joining the armed was the only option I had.”
Stories like Norullah’s are common and contributed to the armed group fight, said Seddiq Seddiqi, Afghanistan’s former deputy minister of the interior who now lives in Canada.
“Persistent droughts, population displacement because of the drought, poverty and livelihood insecurity were the main drivers to Afghanistan’s conflict and contributed to the recruitment of young people into armed militancy and insurgency,” said Seddiqi.
“Climate change in Afghanistan played a significant role in causing an existential threat to national security, and acted as a risk multiplier contribution to the fragility of the governance and the functions of the legitimate state at the national level.”
Afghanistan is ranked sixth in the world for countries most impacted by climate change and one of the least prepared against climate shocks, according to the 2021 Global Climate Risk Index.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says Afghanistan is in the grip of one of the worst droughts and food shortage crises in decades.
“Severe drought has hit more than 80 per cent of the country, crippling food production and forcing people from their land. Nearly 700,000 people have been internally displaced in 2021, joining some 3.5 million people already forced from their homes throughout the country,” the IFRC website reads.
Note: This story was produced in partnership with Journalists for Human Rights for the Afghan Journalists-in-Residence program funded by the Meta Journalism Project.