Category Archives: Analysis

The life I built as an Afghan woman went in the blink of an eye

Source: Al Jazeera

At 11am on August 15, I was at Rabia Balkhi University in Kabul where I was teaching economics.

That day, only a handful – maybe 10 – of my class of about 30 had shown up due to the deteriorating security situation. The Taliban was fast advancing on Kabul having already captured the cities of Ghazni, Herat, and Mazar-i-Sharif.

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The Year Kabul Fell Again


On Aug. 15, the Taliban arrived at the gates of Kabul. By the evening, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his vice president had fled the country, and the militant group had seized the presidential palace. In just 10 days, the Taliban had gone from taking their first provincial capital to preparing to declare a new Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan. The final U.S. plane would depart from Kabul later that month to a chorus of celebratory Taliban gunfire, marking an end to Washington’s so-called forever war.

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The Secret History of the U.S. Diplomatic Failure in Afghanistan

Source: The New Yorker

On April 14th, President Joe Biden ended the longest war in United States history, announcing that the last remaining American troops in Afghanistan would leave by September 11th. In the following weeks, the Taliban conquered dozens of rural districts and closed in on major cities. By mid-June, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan—the brittle democratic state built by Afghan modernizers, NATO soldiers, and American taxpayers after the 9/11 attacks—appeared to be in a death spiral. Yet its President, Ashraf Ghani, insisted to his cabinet that the Republic would endure. In every meeting, “he assured us, and encouraged us,” Rangina Hamidi, the acting minister of education, said. Ghani reminded them, “America didn’t make a promise that they would be here forever.”

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What my 20 years in Afghanistan taught me about the Taliban – and how the west consistently underestimates them

Source: The Conversation

It was April 1995, and I was preparing to travel to Afghanistan for my first volunteer post with a UK charity. I had travelled to London to meet the Afghanistan director for the non-governmental organisation (NGO) I was going to be working for and now sat in their tiny office facing him. My father had travelled to Afghanistan in the 1970s and loved it. His stories had mesmerised me. After years of dreaming about going to Afghanistan, I would finally be on my way.

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Back in Exile: Afghan Stories of a Near Distant Past

Source: The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies

In 20 years of American-backed governments Afghanistan has changed immensely – singers, activists, and journalists showed the country that beyond the bloodshed, a world of culture, music, and beauty existed. Many of them were raised outside the country and returned to the homeland left by their parents in the previous wars. They helped rebuilding the nation, and now they are “back in exile,” joined by many other Afghans who managed to escape after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in mid-August.

Afghans exiles have been developing various discourses, including recording the memories of their flight, expressing nostalgia of a yearned-for past, and calling for social-political mobilization for the motherland.

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The U.S. Military Needs to Learn How to Train Auxiliary Armies


America’s war in Afghanistan is now over, but the war over the war has only just begun. The sudden collapse of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police looms large in these new debates among policy wonks, politicians, and journalists.

Images of captured U.S. equipment in the hands of the triumphant Taliban brought bitter reminders of Islamic State soldiers celebrating in American armored vehicles after Iraqi security forces suddenly collapsed in 2014. How could these security forces, which the United States had spent so much time and resources training and equipping, collapse so quickly?

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