The fall of Kabul
Afghanistan is once again under the control of the Taliban, 20 years after the US Army and its allies forced them into retreat. When Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops, there were immediately concerns that this could all happen. And yet no one foresaw the shocking ease at which Taliban forces swept through the country, taking city after city, and eventually the capital Kabul.
We’ve been here before: when the Russians left in 1989, the Soviet-backed regime lasted just a few years. This time, the American-backed administration lasted mere weeks. Why was it so easy for the Taliban to regain control? And is this really a new-look Taliban - or is the future still just as bleak for the women and girls of Afghanistan?
In today’s episode, we once again chat with our international editor Lindsey Hilsum about where this leaves the West’s status as defenders of freedom and liberty, and we ask, what was the point of the last 20 years of bloodshed?