The United States bears a great deal of the responsibility for the situation in Afghanistan, but the EU should also reflect on how its overly narrow conception of democracy contributed to the shortcomings of Afghan reconstruction efforts.
There is a single overarching problem that is at the root of what the world has seen of U.S. engagement in Afghanistan and elsewhere. It is the failure on the part of the United States to demonstrate strategic patience .
The United States and its Arab partners overemphasize political Islam to the detriment of other anti-authoritarian trends in the Arab world. The Taliban’s return in Afghanistan shouldn’t further entrench this belief.
This winter, however, an even worse catastrophe could unfold: Afghanistan’s economy is in ruins, and millions of Afghans are suffering from a lack of food and other basic needs, even as parts of the country remain wracked by violence.
One major pillar of the international community’s diplomatic and development engagement in Afghanistan over the past two decades centered on strengthening subnational governance.
The Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan enhances the prospects for cooperation between the Russian, Chinese and Central Asian governments, but does not guarantee it. Both Beijing and Moscow enjoy far greater economic clout in Central Asia than any Western state does, due in part to geographic proximity.
Assuming that the situation in Afghanistan is unlikely to stabilize in the foreseeable future, it may fuel the Rahmon regime for another few years.
Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. special representative for Afghan reconciliation, joins Aaron David Miller to debrief the withdrawal from Afghanistan, what went wrong, and where the United States goes from here.
Tajikistan has no intention of getting into a direct confrontation with the Taliban. Rather, by taking a few more risks than its neighbors, the Tajik leadership is counting on boosting its popularity, both at home and abroad.
The only way to forestall the looming humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan is to move beyond immediate emergency measures and evacuations, and even purely humanitarian aid, and open up a broader political discourse with the Taliban.