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The Taliban Want to Go Green

I asked the Taliban about their sudden interest in battling climate change.
Image: Abdul Khaliq, AP

On February 26, Taliban leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada took to social media to ask Afghans to "plant one or several fruit or non-fruit trees for the beautification of Earth and the benefit of almighty Allah's creations."

The announcement proved strange not only because of its message but also because, though the Taliban might issue many such statements, Akhundzada rarely signs them. So I contacted Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi and Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesmen for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban's self-styled government in exile, to talk about the insurgents' counterintuitive plans to go green.

"The US invasion destroyed many sectors of Afghanistan, including the environment, in a very bad way and for the long term," Mujahid told me via WhatsApp. "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has the perfect plan for environmental protection through planting trees. Every citizen of the country should plant at least one tree a year. Also, we support all actions taken for the support of the environment, including the state's efforts to invest in this sector. In fact, we support any action to this end."

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