Climate change in Kabul?

I just finished *The Kiterunners * which deal quite a bit with the city of Kabul in Afganistan. In the book, during the author’s youth, Kabul is described as a city that is quite green with lots of trees before 1975. Later in the book during the reign of the Taliban, around 2000, all the trees are dead and there is no grass.
Is this a literary device used by the author or has there been a dramatic change in the climate of Kabul over the past 30 years?

I should add that the writer clearly spent a lot of time in Kabul and the book seems very accurate in its depictions of cities in Pakistan and Afganistan.

During times of war and destitution, people chop down trees to use as fuel. This point was well-made by the CNN show “Beneath the Veil” where their reporter went to see the beautiful Afghani gardens where her father used to live–now a denuded, dry wasteland.

From 2004: Seven-Year Drought Puts Afghanistan on the Brink

From 2006: UN warns over Afghanistan drought
Also: Drought Turns Farmers of Northern Afghanistan Into Refugees

Plenty of places look green & pretty despite climates which do not assist such fauna. Climate is one element, but effective and abundant supplies of water are far more important. A peaceful Kabul probably had these, at least for the more wealthy, but Kabul of the past couple of decades has had far more to worry about than keeping the plants watered.

On the other hand, I caught a small part of a BBC documentary about everyday life in Kabul at present, and the lawns of the government buildings looked beautiful.