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Articles & Contributions from Members & Partners



Afghanistan, United States and Regional Developments: The Path Forward

Dr. Sohail Mahmood – 12 September 2021 On August 30, the war in Afghanistan ended. America had managed to evacuate some 123,000 civilians from Kabul, including 6,000 Americans. The twenty-year war had a high cost. Some 2,461 US soldiers and civilians were killed.  On August 26  a terrorist bombing killed 13 soldiers in Kabul. President Biden on August 31, 2021…

Hard Questions for NATO post-Afghanistan

Stefanie Babst, Internationale Politik Quarterly – 2 September 2021 “The Western allies need to review what went wrong in Afghanistan with a genuine sense of humility. Otherwise they are bound to repeat the same mistakes in the future”. This article on Internationale Politik Quarterly looks at four hard questions for NATO after the fall of…

Americans Never Understood Afghanistan Like the Taliban Did

Shadi Hamid, The Atlantic – 23 August 2021 America’s nation-building fantasies painted over the realities of a failed state and created an insurmountable barrier between Afghan citizens and the US military, according to this article on The Atlantic. Instead, the Taliban made their return through grass-root dispute resolutions. Read the full article here.

Afghanistan always defeats the West

William Dalrymple, UnHerd – 30 August 2021 The correlation between the First and Fourth Anglo-Afghan War is substantive and a grasp of history dating back to the first war from 1939-42 would have, according to this article, prevented a disastrous war and avoided another military humiliation for the West. Read the full article here.

The Other Afghan Women

Anand Gopal, The New Yorker – 6 September 2021 “All the women I met in Sangin, though, seemed to agree that their rights, whatever they might entail, cannot flow from the barrel of a gun—and that Afghan communities themselves must improve the conditions of women”. In this poignant piece on The New Yorker, Anand Gopal…

The Taliban, not the West, won Afghanistan’s technological war

Christopher Ankerson, MIT Technology Review – 23 August 2021 “If wars are fought through innovation, the Taliban won”. After 20 years of conflict, this article on MIT Technology Review argues that the technological advances within the US military have not been as pronounced as others would argue and, in fact, the Taliban have won the…

The west has paid the price for neglecting the Afghanistan economy

Martin Sandbu, Financial Times – 22 August 2021 Nation-building can only be done by those citizens who belong to it, this article argues, with Afghanistan being “too tribal and traditional a society” for it to ever fall to the influence of an outsider. Focusing on the economy and building a functioning state would have made…

The west’s nation-building fantasy is to blame for the mess in Afghanistan

Simon Jenkins, The Guardian – 20 August 2021 As Kabul falls to the complete power of the Taliban, serious questions are being asked around the world of the west’s moral authority and intentions after 9/11. This article on The Guardian argues “if they [western regimes] crave moral outreach, it should be through the imperialism of…