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Afghanistan: Taliban pledges to help the world tackle climate change

The Taliban has pledged to help the world tackle climate change as hundreds of environmental activists fear of persecution under Taliban’s rule.

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a member of the Taliban’s Cultural Commission, told the Newsweek during an interview that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants to work with the global community.

“We hope not only to be recognised by regional countries,” Balkhi said, “but the entire world at large as the legitimate representative government of the people of Afghanistan.”

“We believe the world has a unique opportunity of rapprochement and coming together to tackle the challenges not only facing us but the entire humanity and these challenges ranging from world security and climate change need the collective efforts of all, and cannot be achieved if we exclude or ignore an entire people who have been devastated by imposed wars for the past four decades.”

His comments come as campaigners claim Afghan climate activists must be evacuated urgently from the conflict-torn country as they face the threat of persecution under the Taliban.

A group of nearly 260 activists and their families, aged between one and 80, have been waiting to be rescued for over a week, said spokespeople for Fridays for Future, the youth climate movement started by Greta Thunberg.

“If there’s anyone who can help in any way to evacuate the Fridays For Future activists from Afghanistan – please reach out urgently,” Swedish teenager Thunberg tweeted.

The Afghan campaigners have been engaged in climate activism and social justice work in their country.

“Everybody is scared and feeling quite hopeless as the situation is rapidly deteriorating,” said Sarah Greenfield Clark, co-founder of Climate 2025, a non-profit that supports emerging movements.

In 2010, a report by US military experts and geologists estimated that Afghanistan was sitting on nearly $1 trillion in mineral wealth that could help alleviate the climate crisis. A huge amount of iron, copper, gold, cobalt, lithium and rare-earth deposits are scattered around its provinces. These materials are vital in the manufacture of climate technology, such as state-of-the-art batteries.

The resources can dramatically reform the economic prospects of Afghanistan, currently one of the world’s poorest countries.