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Commentary

Afghanistan’s new, uncertain chapter

A former Afghan interpreter and diplomat explain what might lie ahead for Afghanistan after nearly two decades of war.

Ep. 86 originally published on Defense One Radio

This episode we speak about where Afghanistan might go from here—with help from former Afghan translator Habib Hassan and former State Department official Elizabeth Threlkeld, currently of the Stimson Center.

Transcript Introduction

After nearly 20 years of fighting, America’s war in Afghanistan has ended. And it’s come to a fairly sad and bloody end with more than 100 people killed—including 13 U.S. service members—in a suicide attack that hit outside the Kabul airport less than a week before the U.S. is set to leave the country entirely on Aug. 31. The local ISIS affiliate claimed responsibility for that attack, which many coalition nations responded to by ending evacuation flights out of the country. 

The Taliban pretty much formally won the war in Afghanistan on Sunday, August 15, when they swept into Kabul and took photos inside the abandoned Presidential Palace. The Taliban’s military offensive was three months in the making, and culminated in a victory so swift the U.S. and its allies were clearly taken by surprise. Desperate and horrifying videos from Kabul on the night of Aug. 15 revealed as much: Afghans clinging to the side of U.S. Air Force planes, with at least two young men falling to their death when they could not hold on any longer. 

There have been many tragic and lasting images that have come from Afghanistan and its desperate people over just the past 12 days. 

Listen to the episode and read the full transcript on Defense One.

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