Speed Reads


How the worst drought in 3 decades could exacerbate Afghanistan's national crises — and create new ones

Amid all of its political upheaval, Afghanistan is also facing its "worst drought in 35-36 years," Richard Trenchard, the country director for the Food and Agriculture Organization in Afghanistan, told The Wall Street Journal

Farmers, naturally, are struggling and most lack the technology and money needed to implement more climate-resistance agricultural methods. In short, economic disaster looms, and because the Taliban has not presented any plan to create jobs or provide Afghanistan's population with financial support, there's a chance of unrest in the countryside. "We will wait for six months," Mohammad Amir, a 45-year-old farmer from Wardak province, told the Journal. "If things don't get better, we will stand against the Taliban."

The fallout could also include rising tensions with neighboring Iran, which receives water from the Helmand River and has often accused Afghanistan of keeping more water than it was supposed to under the terms of a 1973 water treaty between the two nations, the Journal notes. Oli Brown, a senior research associate with the Berlin-based environmental think tank Adelphia, said the drought could also accelerate migration from Afghanistan, or force farmers in some areas to switch to growing opium poppies, which require less water to cultivate than other crops and are more lucrative. Of course, their production comes with its own consequences. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.