Leaving Afghanistan

What happens after the forever war ends?

Two Taliban fighters stand on a sidewalk dressed in tactical gear.

Why the Taliban Still Love Suicide Bombing

The group is normalizing death and despair in the Islamic Emirate.

Women wait for staff members from Doctors Without Borders at a camp for internally displaced people on the outskirts of Herat, Afghanistan, on Nov. 22.

U.N., World Bank Under Pressure to Offer Aid to Afghanistan

The existing sanctions regime on Taliban leaders makes it hard for the world to help the Afghan people.

Men walk near the Torkham border crossing.

Afghan Refugees Get Cold Welcome in Pakistan

The Taliban takeover has pushed many Afghans over the border and into another kind of limbo.

Taliban takeover

A Taliban fighter mans a machine gun mounted on a vehicle near the venue of an open-air pro-Taliban rally on the outskirts of Kabul on Oct. 3.

Taliban Splintered by Internal Divisions, External Spoilers

Pakistan said to be supporting alternative jihadi groups to undermine the Taliban and maintain leverage over Afghanistan.

A Taliban police officer prepares to transport a handcuffed heroin addict by motorbike to a small police station in Wardak province’s remote Chak district on Sept. 17.

12 Million Angry Men

The Taliban promised justice. They are hard-pressed to provide it.

Members of the Taliban

The Taliban Don’t Need the West

Afghanistan’s new rulers have shown themselves to be skilled—and ruthless—diplomats.

Pakistani Taliban escort a kidnapper as they arrive for his execution at the Rahim Kor village near Peshawar, Pakkistan on April 27, 2008.

The Taliban’s Sharia Is the Most Brutal of All

The Afghan government is imposing punishments that have no comparison elsewhere in the Islamic world.

Regional dynamics

Qatari assistant foreign minister Lolwah Rashid al-Khater

Qatari Diplomat: ‘There’s a Serious Need for Engagement’ With the Taliban

Qatar’s assistant foreign minister discussed the Taliban, the need for a clear road map, and Afghanistan’s uncertain future.

Afghan laborers work at a stone mine.

Afghanistan Is No Treasure Trove for China

The country’s mineral wealth remains largely theoretical.

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar of the Taliban

Afghanistan Is a Bigger Headache for Tehran Than It Is Letting On

Iran cheered the U.S. withdrawal but is nervously hedging its bets with the Taliban.

Pakistani and Taliban flags fly on their respective border sides.

Pakistan’s Friendship With the Taliban Is Changing

Expect a recalibration of the relationship by both sides now the Taliban are in power.

Refugee crisis

indonesia afghanistan refugees

Will Afghan Refugees Stranded in Southeast Asia Be Resettled?

After the fall of Kabul, some countries are opening their doors. Afghans who have been stuck in Malaysia and Indonesia for years are hoping that they will not be forgotten.

Afghans at a passport office

The United States Needs an Afghan Refugee Resettlement Act

Legislation passed in the wake of the Vietnam War could provide a blueprint for today’s policymakers.

Afghan migrants rest while they wait for transport by smugglers after crossing the Iran-Turkish border on Aug. 15.

Biden Sparked a Refugee Crisis. He Must Help Europe Bear the Cost.

The chaotic U.S. withdrawal has already led thousands of Afghans to flee.

Children sleep in a makeshift camp.

How to Avoid Humanitarian Catastrophe in Afghanistan

The Biden administration should maximize diplomacy and prioritize support for front-line organizations.

Women in Afghanistan

Schoolgirls in Kabul

School’s Out in the Taliban’s Afghanistan

The Taliban say modern education is of no use as the country heads toward economic meltdown and starvation.

A female TV presenter from southern Afghanistan

The Tragic Fate of Afghanistan’s Journalists

Many are fleeing or in hiding. Women, some locked out of their outlets, are in particular danger.

TOPSHOT - Women walk through a road in Ghazni on June 3, 2021.

‘They Left Us to the Taliban’

Six Afghan women describe their feelings of fear, anger, and betrayal in the wake of America’s departure.

Burqa-clad women shop at a market in Kabul.

In Taliban’s New Afghan Emirate, Women Are Invisible

“All the women of Afghanistan have one fear, the Taliban,” said former deputy defense minister Munera Yousufzada.

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An illustration shows a collage of Afghan foreign embassies.

Afghanistan’s Diplomats Refuse to Represent a Terrorist Group

Some are working on resistance. Others, consular services. And all of them must figure out how to keep their embassy’s lights on.

Passengers queue to board a U.S. Air Force flight.

State Department Launches Review of Afghan Withdrawal

U.S. ambassador Daniel Smith is tapped to lead a review to understand the lessons of U.S. involvement.

Anti-Taliban forces train.

Afghan Insurgents Are a Dead End

Rebuilding U.S. standing requires an end to backing militants abroad.

Khalil Haqqani stands before a bank of microphones.

With Haqqanis at the Helm, the Taliban Will Grow Even More Extreme

The Haqqani network has long been the most lethal and vicious element of the Taliban.

People leave to board a Pakistan International Airlines plane.

State Department: Thousands of U.S. Residents Still Stuck in Afghanistan

The department hasn’t made the numbers public, but angry lawmakers are running out of patience.

Taliban members stand guard inside a prison cell.

As Afghanistan Nears Collapse, Taliban ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’

The country’s former intelligence chief said the Taliban are torn between placating their foot soldiers and meeting Afghans’ and the international community’s expectations.

A Taliban fighter stands along a road in Herat, Afghanistan, on Sept. 19.

Afghan Crime Wave Adds to Taliban Dystopia

A rash of robbings, kidnappings, and even killings is aggravating Afghanistan’s dire situation.

Members of the Taliban, all men, sit at a fancy table.

Foreign Aid Won’t Moderate the Taliban

International assistance isn’t the political lever many hope it will be.

A close up photo of Zalmay Khalilzad's face.

Don’t Blame Khalilzad for the Afghanistan Debacle

Zalmay Khalilzad achieved what he was asked to do: Get the United States out of Afghanistan.

U.S. military police walk past Afghan refugees.

It’s Not Too Late to Save America’s Afghan Allies

Here are three steps the Biden administration can take today.

Taliban fighters on a pickup truck in Kabul.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kabul: ‘Engagement Has to Continue’ With Taliban Government

Mansoor Ahmad Khan tells FP that Afghanistan is more stable now, and he denies any Pakistani support for the militant group.

A woman begs on the streets of Kabul.

Afghanistan’s Economic Freefall

Without urgent assistance, nearly the entire country could sink into poverty, the United Nations Development Program warns.

Afghan resistance movement and anti-Taliban uprising forces take rest as they patrol on a hilltop in Darband area in Anaba district, Panjshir province on Sept. 1, 2021.

Don’t Arm the Afghan Resistance

Supporting anti-Taliban fighters will spark a return to civil war, antagonize Pakistan, and draw the United States back into a conflict it sought to put behind it.

A carpet bearing images of a map of Afghanistan and flags of different countries is pictured inside a shop on Chicken Street in Kabul. on Feb 2, 2015.

Afghanistan Isn’t Good Terrorist Real Estate

Even if the Taliban wanted to serve as a safe haven, there’s no reason to think terrorists would want to take up the offer.

An Afghan National Army soldier takes a selfie

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

The Afghan army’s collapse shows American forces are using the wrong approach.

Members of the U.S. Marines speak to an Afghan man.

Those Left Behind in Afghanistan

A month after the U.S. withdrawal, Afghans who worked for the U.S. war effort are in hiding. Few see a way out.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Central Command chief Kenneth McKenzie

Pentagon Leaders Contradict Biden Over Troops in Afghanistan

Lawmakers raked Gen. Milley, Gen. McKenzie, and Defense Secretary Austin over the coals for the chaotic end to the war in Afghanistan.

A boy walks through buildings damaged from fighting.

America Isn’t Ready to Fight the Islamic State in Afghanistan

The jihadi group’s continued rise has left the United States with only bad options.

Afghan resistance and anti-Taliban fighters stand guard in Afghanistan’s Panjshir province on Aug. 23.

Afghan Resistance Mulls Formation of Government in Exile

Fighters, politicians, and generals will try to ape the Taliban’s playbook while the extremists sleepwalk into civil war.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference.

NATO Chief on Afghan Legacy: ‘Have To Ask Some Difficult Questions’

Jens Stoltenberg weighs in on AUKUS, Zapad, and the fate of Afghanistan after 20 years of bitter toil.

Taliban fighters pass a billboard in Kabul.

The Myth of Moderate Jihadis

The unspoken pact between Washington and anti-Islamic State jihadi groups is a short-sighted move that will reward extremists.

Taliban fighters in Afghanistan

Why the Taliban Won’t Quit al Qaeda

Don’t expect the Taliban to compromise their terrorist allies.

Afghan refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport

Throw a Lifeline to the Afghans Left Behind

This week’s U.N. General Assembly provides an opportunity to assist the minorities, activists, women, and girls still in Afghanistan.

A man dressed in a blue tunic and pants gazes out over a view of the city through peaked arches atop a high building.

How Not to Lose the Peace in Afghanistan

A U.N. peacekeeping mission could help avert civil war.

Pakistan International Airlines plane takes off from Kabul

China and Pakistan See Eye to Eye on the Taliban—Almost

They share economic and geopolitical interests in Afghanistan, but counterterrorism could be a wrench.

Soldiers of the German Wehrmacht stand with their hands up

How America Forgot It Needed to Understand The Enemy

Social scientists helped win World War II by judging enemy morale. But in Afghanistan, the U.S. kept getting it wrong.

The Italian diplomat Stefano Pontecorvo at the Kabul airport

NATO’s Man in Kabul

Stefano Pontecorvo spent his childhood in Kabul. Sixty years later, he coordinated the evacuation of 124,000 people before saying goodbye to the city himself.

Zalmay Khalilzad, special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, speaks.

Zalmay Khalilzad: ‘I Will Reflect’ on What U.S. Could Have Done Differently

America’s man in Afghanistan reflects on Trump’s ill-fated peace deal, the pullout, and how everything went wrong.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden participate in a virtual diplomatic meeting.

Blinken Defends Afghanistan Withdrawal in First of Congressional Hearing Marathons

Republican lawmakers grilled Biden’s top diplomat over the end to the United States’ Afghan war.

An Afghan street seller offers the local currency called 'afgani' in exchange for US dollars and few pre-paid mobile phone cards, in  Kabul, on April 10, 2010.

America’s Money Lost the Afghan War

It’s unclear whether Washington can ever cure its addiction to enabling its allies’ corruption.

Taliban negotiators attend a Moscow press conference.

China and Russia Have a Shared Playbook for Afghanistan

Experience in cooperating in Central Asia offers a fruitful model.

Osama bin Laden holds a press conference.

The Taliban’s Victory Is Al Qaeda’s Victory

Afghanistan’s new rulers still have strong ties to the terrorist group that attacked the United States on 9/11.

Thousands of Taliban supporters rallied October 1, 2001 in the town of Quetta, Pakistan.

Pakistan Might Soon Regret Its Win in Afghanistan

The Taliban’s takeover in Kabul has all the makings of a Pyrrhic victory.

The flag of the Islamic Emirate is painted on the wall outside the former U.S. Embassy in Kabul

Life Under the Taliban

A few weeks after militants took over Kabul and the country, Afghanistan has gone back to a past it didn’t miss.

Relatives of a man killed in the Kabul airport bombing bury his body.

Islamic State-Khorasan’s Reach Extends Far Beyond Afghanistan

With a growing digital presence, the extremist group seeks to destabilize South and Central Asia.

Taliban fighters stand on an armored vehicle.

In Afghanistan, It’s Back to the Future—of Taliban Tyranny

A government of mullahs and terrorists snuffs out freedoms despite talk of inclusion and human rights.

Pfc. William Berczik stands on top of a Stryker vehicle in the desert near Kandahar, Afghanistan, on March 6, 2014.

The Strategic Logic of a Forever War

The United States should have ignored sunk costs in Afghanistan and maintained a light military footprint.

U.S. Army 3rd Division Bradley fighting vehicles take up their position.

How the U.S. Got 9/11 Wrong

The lone superpower inadvertently taught the rest of the world how to fight it—and win.

Afghan women protest near the Pakistan embassy in Kabul, a day after the Taliban claimed to have crushed the last outpost of resistance, Sept. 7.

Afghans Protest After Taliban Claim to Have Crushed Panjshir Resistance

Chants of “Freedom” and “Death to Taliban” rang out in Kabul and other Afghan cities.

Afghan money-changers count Pakistani rupees at the money exchange market in Kabul.

Afghanistan’s Money Exchangers Are the Economy’s Last Best Hope

As many banks are forced to close, an informal network of money exchangers provides an indispensable service.

A Hazara woman holds her child as she attends an event on International Women’s Day.

Afghanistan’s Hazaras Get Mixed Messages From the Taliban

The Islamic State-Khorasan has come to represent a greater threat to the persecuted minority.

Afghan security officers stand in front of a U.N. vehicle.

U.N. Return to Afghanistan: ‘This Is Completely Insane’

A month ago, the United Nations was pulling its staff out of Afghanistan. Now, it’s headed back in to avert a major humanitarian crisis.

An Afghan who says he worked as a CIA operative

The CIA Secretly Evacuated Most of Its Spies From Afghanistan

The agency has a long history of extracting people from danger zones.

An Afghan child walks near abandoned military uniforms in Kabul.

Now America Must Help the Millions of Afghans It Left Behind

Engaging with a Taliban government will be painful. Washington will have to do it anyway.

French President Emmanuel Macron meets with Masoud Barzani in Erbil.

Macron Uses Biden’s Afghan Retreat to Push ‘Strategic Autonomy’

But doubts remain whether he can cut his own path in the Middle East.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet.

China, Russia Look to Outflank U.S. in Afghanistan

Meanwhile, Pakistan urges Washington to pump the breaks on sanctioning the Taliban.

Afghan schoolchildren study at a destroyed high school.

Biden’s Conundrum: How to Pressure the Taliban Without Hurting Afghans

After 20 years of building up Afghanistan, can the United States really cut the country off now?

Taliban special force fighters stand guard next to a plane.

America Isn’t Exceptional Anymore

The United States can no longer claim to be the leader of the free world if it abandons strategic allies and vulnerable civilians.

Afghans wait for the banks to open in Kabul.

U.S. Troop Pullout Sparks New Urgency for Afghan Evacuations

There’s little expectation the Taliban will make it easy to leave.

U.S. Marines keep watch as unseen Afghan National Army soldiers participate in an improvised explosive device training exercise in Lashkar Gah in the Afghan province of Helmand on Aug. 28, 2017.

The CIA Is Better Than the U.S. Military at Creating Foreign Armies

The failure of the Afghan army is a reminder that Pentagon-led security cooperation programs are more expensive and less effective than those led by spies.

A demonstrator shows Pakistani currency notes contributed by the protestors for holy war against America and to help Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia during an anti-US protest rally of a Sunni extremist group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) in Islamabad on September 28, 2001.

Can the West Make the Taliban Moderate?

The United States has leverage over the new Afghan government. Here’s how to use it.

Taliban fighters sit on the back of a pickup truck at the airport in Kabul on Aug. 31.

The Taliban Can’t Control Afghanistan. That Should Worry the West.

The risk of a terrorist resurgence comes primarily from the Taliban’s Islamic State rivals.

A U.S. military plane prepares to board evacuees at Kabul’s airport.

Last U.S. Troops Leave Afghanistan After 20 Years of War

More than a hundred American citizens remain in the Taliban-controlled country.

The leader of the Taliban negotiating team Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar walks after the final declaration of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar's capital Doha on July 18, 2021.

What Diversity Means for the Taliban

The new Afghan government will likely include ethnicities other than the Taliban’s own. But women are probably out of luck.

Afghan men wave a flag above the portrait of late Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Ahmad Massoud: ‘Peace Does Not Mean to Surrender’

The leader of the Afghan anti-Taliban resistance vows to battle in the encircled Panjshir Valley to keep alive his father’s dream.

Chinese yuan banknotes are seen behind an illuminated stock graph on Feb. 10, 2020. Dado Ruvic Illustration/REUTERS

After Afghanistan, Biden Can Learn From How Fund Managers Handle Their Disasters

Five basic strategies from investment analysis apply to war and diplomacy too.

Afghan refugees arrive in Virginia

Anti-Interventionism Isn’t Enough for Left Foreign Policy

Afghanistan shows that the American left is in danger of losing the moral plot.

A military transport plane takes off in Kabul.

The Falling Man of Kabul

Zaki Anwari represented what a free Afghanistan could achieve. His gruesome death is a vivid reminder of the human toll of U.S. abandonment.

A U.S. Air Force aircraft takes off from the military airport in Kabul on Aug. 27.

Ending the Forever Wars Was Never Up to Us

Leaving Afghanistan will not stop terrorism or leave the threats the United States faces behind.

A man watches a new documentary tracing the life of Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the Haqqani network, a violent Taliban wing, on a monitor in Islamabad on Oct. 23, 2020.

It’s Crazy to Trust the Haqqanis

A faction of the new Afghan government is extraordinarily close to al Qaeda and other terror groups—including the Islamic State.

A U.S. soldier shoots in the air with his pistol while standing guard behind barbed wire as Afghans sit on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 20.

What Should Biden Have Done in Afghanistan?

Withdrawal was always bound to be chaotic, but wishful thinking, poor planning, and glacial bureaucracies have made a difficult situation worse.

A group of orphaned Afghan girls

‘Support Is Not Just About Money’

A U.S. veteran of Afghan heritage reflects on a complicated relationship between two far-apart nations.

Taliban delegation in Moscow

Chinese Recognition of the Taliban Is All but Inevitable

The geostrategic and economic benefits of closer relations are too great for Beijing to ignore.

Backpacks and belongings of Afghan people post-Kabul airport bombing

Chinese Firms Don’t Want to Pay Afghanistan’s Costs

The country is too chaotic for Beijing to exploit economically.

Abdul Aziz, an elder Afghan money changer, takes a break sitting behind bundles of afghanis at the main currency exchange market in Kabul on July 18, 2002.

Don’t Abandon Afghanistan’s Economy Too

As the chances of evacuation dwindle, the West owes Afghans a chance at surviving in their own country.

France's President Emmanuel Macron talks to U.S. President Joe Biden before a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Brussels on June 14, 2021.

The Real Reason U.S. Allies Are Upset About Afghanistan

The anger is real—but anguished humanitarianism is just part of it.

Taliban fighters in a vehicle patrol the streets of Kabul on Aug. 23.

The Taliban Are Far Closer to the Islamic State Than They Claim

The terror group behind the Kabul attacks has close ties to the Haqqani network.

Medical and hospital staff bring an injured man on a stretcher for treatment after two powerful explosions outside the airport in Kabul on Aug. 26.

Is Islamic Terrorism Coming to the U.S. Again?

After the deadly Kabul attack, the CIA pins its hopes on an unconventional counterterrorism strategy.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid arrives at the first press conference in Kabul following the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan on Aug. 18.

Facebook’s Taliban Ban Will Prove Costly for Afghans

Why the tech giant is on the wrong side of history yet again.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan in the East Room of the White House on August 26, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Biden Vows to Respond After Deadly Kabul Terrorist Attack

U.S. officials had repeatedly warned of threats from the Islamic State’s branch in Afghanistan this week.

A full flight of 265 people are evacuated out of Kabul.

Afghanistan Braces for a Brain Drain

The Taliban are intent on driving out the very people they need to make the country governable.

A French soldier checks the temperature of an Afghan woman in Abu Dhabi.

Don’t Blame the Afghans

If the United States fails to understand its mistakes, it will continue to repeat them.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

What a Taliban Government Will Look Like

Early indications suggest Afghanistan will be led by a 12-man council of criminals, terrorists, and the more pliant members of the former government.

An air crew prepares an evacuation flight out of Kabul.

Taiwan Isn’t Afghanistan, Whatever Beijing Says

The fall of Kabul is a crisis of competence, not credibility, for U.S. power in Asia.

uk soldiers afghanistran

‘Europe Runs the Risk of Becoming a Global Strategic Victim’

Retired British Gen. Richard Barrons warns that the United Kingdom and European Union can no longer simply rely on the United States for their security.

The Bala Hissar historical compound in Kabul

A Taliban Challenge: To Learn the Lessons of History

What an ancient citadel can teach us about Afghanistan’s past—and its potential future.

U.S. Marines raise an American flag

Afghanistan Hasn’t Damaged U.S. Credibility

The withdrawal has been tragic—but it hasn’t been a strategic disaster.

Ahmad Massoud arrives to attend and address a gathering.

An Anti-Taliban Front Is Already Forming. Can It Last?

The group faces a more powerful Taliban than ever, but public discontent could fuel the resistance.

U.S. President Joe Biden

Lessons From Biden’s Very Bad Week

The U.S. president’s refusal to acknowledge error has dismayed supporters and European allies.

U.S. soldiers stand guard behind barbed wire

A ‘Digital Dunkirk’ to Evacuate Afghan Allies

Veterans mobilize online to help Afghans fleeing the Taliban.

The Afghan Embassy in Beijing

Nobody Wins in Afghanistan

For China and Russia, the country is a liability, not an asset.

Afghans gather on a roadside in Kabul.

Non-Military Flights From Afghanistan Grounded

A series of snags have kept planes stuck on Kabul’s tarmac.

U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan

The United States Keeps Doing What It Can’t

The main lesson from the failed intervention in Afghanistan is about the dangers of self-delusion. Will anyone learn it?

People walk over a pile of rubble from a collapsed building after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, on Aug. 16.

A Non-Interventionist Region Reacts to Afghanistan

The factors that led to the country’s collapse find many parallels in Latin America.

British soldiers in tanks pass an Afghan guard post in 1941.

To Understand Afghanistan’s Future, Reckon With the Region’s Colonial Past

From Kabul to Kolkata, South Asian heirs of partition can draw inspiration from their history to chart a sustainable future.

A man stands in a doorway

Taliban Takeover Seen as a Boon for Human Smugglers

Along one part of the Turkish border, hundreds of new Afghan migrants show up every day.

Pedestrians pass a military propaganda poster in Beijing.

China’s Neighbors Hope Afghanistan Pullout Means Pivot to Indo-Pacific

With the withdrawal completed, Washington’s strategic shift can commence.

People gather around a Taliban flag near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman, Pakistan, on Aug. 17.

A Taliban Takeover Will Strengthen Pakistan’s Jihadis

Islamabad cheered the fall of Kabul, but the new Afghan regime will embolden domestic terrorist groups that could threaten the Pakistani state.

Afghans crowd at the Kabul airport.

U.S. Officials Rushed to Kabul Airport to Help Evacuation

Thousands of Americans and Afghans are still stranded in what lawmakers are calling a fiasco.

Head of the Taliban delegation Abdul Salam Hanafi, accompanied by Taliban officials Amir Khan Muttaqi, Shahabuddin Delawar and Abdul Latin Mansour, walks down a hotel lobby during the talks in Qatar's capital Doha on Aug. 12.

Two Talibans Are Competing for Afghanistan

The gap between the group’s international leadership and its rank-and-file fighters has never been wider.

Asad Majeed Khan speaks.

Pakistani Ambassador: ‘Terrorism Is Our Concern as Much as It Is Your Concern’

Envoy says Washington and Islamabad now have a common interest in stopping the Taliban from exporting violence.

Iran's then-Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) meeting with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (C) of the Taliban in Tehran on Jan. 31.

Why Iran Will Welcome the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan

Tehran’s Shiite regime has strategic, economic, ideological, and ecological reasons for backing Sunni extremists.

A Russian soldier

Post-American Afghanistan and India’s Geopolitics

The fall of Kabul accelerates a fundamental realignment that was already underway.

A U.S. soldier points his gun toward an Afghan passenger

Biden’s Democracy Agenda Just Died an Ugly Death in Kabul

The fall of Afghanistan reveals hard truths about U.S. human rights talks.

A Taliban fighter in Kabul

Fear and Uncertainty Grip Kabul

The Taliban pledge an orderly transition, but many residents are bracing for retribution.

Chinese foreign minister meets with Taliban leader

China Won’t Repeat America’s Mistakes in Afghanistan

Beijing wants stability. That could serve some U.S. ends.

A U.S. Chinook military helicopter in Afghanistan

Departure of Private Contractors Was a Turning Point in Afghan Military’s Collapse

For two decades, contractors provided key maintenance and military support.

People climb atop a plane at Kabul airport

‘I’m Furious. I Feel Helpless.’

American diplomats reckon with Afghanistan’s collapse.

Taliban fighters stand guard.

Pakistan and the United States Have Betrayed the Afghan People

Washington ignored Islamabad funding and supplying the Taliban. Now Afghans are paying the price.

An Afghan Pashtun tribal elder speaks to an interpreter.

Why Afghanistan’s Tribes Beat the United States

Tightly bound kinship networks aren’t vestiges of the past. They’re a modern—and effective—form of political organization.

U.S. President Joe Biden

How Biden Was Right About Afghanistan—and Disastrously Wrong

The president is taking flak from all sides, but the timing of the Taliban takeover could minimize the political damage.

Displaced Afghans at a makeshift camp in the Shahr-e-Naw park in northwestern Kabul on Aug. 12.

Many Afghans Fear for Their Lives as Taliban Fighters Take Kabul

In a new chapter for Afghanistan, women are particularly vulnerable.

Displaced Afghans from the northern provinces are evacuated from a makeshift camp in Shahr-e-Naw to various mosques and schools in Kabul on Aug. 12.

Afghan Government Collapses as Ghani Flees the Country

The United States evacuates its embassy while diplomats and aid officials brace for a new humanitarian catastrophe.

A young Afghan Kyrgyz girl reads.

China Is Protecting Its Thin Corridor to the Afghan Heartland

The Wakhan Corridor is a fiercely contested imperial hangover.

Afghan children at an IDP camp

The Coming Afghan Refugee Crisis Is Only a Preview

More desperate migrants will head West in coming years—and the West’s migration policies must change in response.

A man looks through an IDP fence in Kabul.

The West Prepares for the Fall of Kabul

The Taliban’s rapid advance leaves only Kabul left to take, and Western powers don’t want to be there when it happens.

U.S. soldiers fight the Taliban.

Afghans Need a Humanitarian Intervention Right Now

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan should continue. But a new military engagement should begin.

Newly graduated Afghan National Army cadets march during their graduation ceremony at the Kabul Military Training Center in Kabul on Dec. 30, 2014.

What Went Wrong With Afghanistan’s Defense Forces?

Ten provincial capitals have fallen in a week, and Kabul is teetering.

Men walk in Zaranj, Afghanistan.

More Provinces, Atrocities for Rampaging Taliban

Six more Afghan provinces fell over the weekend, and Kabul fears the “country will fall apart.”

U.N. Afghanistan envoy Deborah Lyons attends a meeting in Kabul.

U.N. Afghanistan Envoy Issues Desperate Plea to Avert Catastrophe

Deborah Lyons cites Syria and Sarajevo in her warnings of what could come as the Taliban turn their guns toward Afghanistan’s cities.

People walk toward a border crossing point in Pakistan.

How Pakistan Could Become Biden’s Worst Enemy

The United States is banking on Islamabad to broker successful peace talks with the Taliban. That’s not likely to happen.

A militia member rests in Afghanistan.

With Militias in Herat, ‘We Are Caught Between Bad and Worse’

Killings by militiamen in Herat underscore the risks of relying on armed civilians to fight off the Taliban.

Storay Karimi gives directions.

Taliban Rampage Puts Afghan Journalists in Crosshairs

The last 20 years saw a renaissance in the Afghan media landscape. Now, it’s crumbling.

Ismail Khan, the leader of Herat's militia, gives orders to his forces during a clash with the Taliban inside Herat city, Afghanistan, on Aug. 2.

‘The Taliban Have Not and Will Not Ever Change’

Ismail Khan, fabled warlord and former governor, is back again on the front lines to fend off the Taliban advance.

Afghan militia in Herat, Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s War Splinters as Southern Tribes Fight for Spoils

Key cities including Herat and Kandahar could be the next to fall as Afghanistan’s nightmare continues.

Local Afghan militia and Afghan Army soldiers consult March 14, 2007 in Kajaki, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Stop Assuming the Taliban Will Win

With ethnic warlords reviving their militias, the Afghan war—even without the U.S. military—is more balanced than it seems.

A woman waits to see a doctor in Afghanistan.

A Taliban Victory Would Be ‘The Return of a Dark Age for Afghanistan’

Shukria Barakzai, a prominent women’s rights advocate and former politician, shares her thoughts on the U.S. withdrawal and Afghanistan’s uncertain future.

An interpreter speaks with Kurdish villagers.

Iraqi Kurds Keep Faith in U.S. Despite Drawdown

The United States’ longtime partners in northern Iraq are watching Afghanistan go to pieces after the U.S. pullout with “wishful thinking.”

A security officer walks past a mural showing U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on July 31, 2020.

India Resists the Taliban Bandwagon

As Blinken heads to New Delhi, he could find some surprising common ground on Afghanistan.

Afghan security forces escort suspected Taliban fighters

U.S. Officials Make Last-Minute Push to Get Afghan Spies Out Before Withdrawal

Intelligence assets who worked for the CIA now face deadly reprisals.

Soldiers in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province

A ‘Life and Death Fight’ Against the Taliban in Central Afghanistan

Bamiyan, home to the Taliban-wrecked Buddhas, might be the start of Afghanistan’s pushback against the insurgents.

The Taliban delegation leaves the hotel after meeting with representatives of Russia, China, the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Qatar in Moscow on March 19.

China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

Beijing has its eyes set on using Afghanistan as a strategic corridor once U.S. troops are out of the way.

Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon

Central Asia Braces for Fallout of U.S. Pullout From Afghanistan

Since the war began, America has had one lens for Central Asia. What happens now?

Afghan refugees arrive in Greece.

Biden’s Afghan Withdrawal Will Spark the Next Refugee Crisis

The European allies that fought alongside the United States will face the fallout as thousands of refugees flee the Taliban, giving fodder to far-right parties.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives ahead of the inauguration of the Salma Hydroelectric Dam in Herat, Afghanistan on June 4, 2016.

India Is Scrambling to Get on the Taliban’s Good Side

After decades of supporting the Afghan government, New Delhi is planning for its potential fall.

Afghan militia gather with their weapons to support Afghanistan security forces.

‘It Will Not Be Just a Civil War’

Afghanistan’s foreign minister on what may await his country after the U.S. withdrawal.

The CIA helps Vietnamese evacuees.

Is Biden Haunted by Vietnam? Should He Be?

The president said this withdrawal will be nothing like what happened in 1975, but there are some striking parallels.

Biden leaves after discussing situation in Afghanistan.

The Top Five Debriefing Questions About Afghanistan

How to make sense of Washington’s longest war ever.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House in Washington on July 8.

Biden Defends Troop Withdrawal as Taliban Forces Advance

As U.S. focus moves elsewhere, regional powers are closely watching Afghanistan’s fate.

A U.S. Army advisor for the Afghan Air Force

U.S. to Prop Up Afghan Air Force

Afghanistan will get an injection of contractor support and planes for its beleaguered Air Force.

Tents at a camp for internally displaced families are pictured in Dand district, Afghanistan, on Jan. 7.

Will the End of the U.S. War Create More Afghan Refugees?

With the Taliban insurgency expanding, the U.S. withdrawal could provoke a major humanitarian crisis.

A mural showing a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban is depicted in Kabul.

If the Taliban Wins the War, Can They Still Lose the Peace?

The United States vowed to destroy the Taliban. Today, they are stronger than ever. But will that last?

Charkint District Governor Salima Mazari points a gun as she visits  forces in Charkint district of Balkh province on June 29.

With the Militias in Afghanistan

As Afghan forces melt away, local armed groups are left to hold the line against the Taliban.

An anti-drone protest in Pakistan

Why U.S. Drone Strikes Are at an All-Time Low

The shift comes as the White House seeks to downgrade the threat of global terrorism after 20 years of “forever wars.”

Interpreters demonstrate for U.S. visas.

‘Now I Can’t Go Home’

Afghan interpreters who worked with the U.S. military clamor for U.S. visas to escape Taliban retribution.

Ashraf Ghani shakes hands with Biden.

Can Biden Save Ashraf Ghani?

To stop the Taliban’s advance and his government’s collapse, the Afghan leader must check his hubris at the White House door.

Young people sit at the Wazir Akbar Khan hilltop during a national day of mourning in Kabul on May 11.

Top Afghan Leaders Visit the White House at a Low Moment

With the situation in Afghanistan rapidly deteriorating, expect the mood to be grim when Ghani and Abdullah meet Biden.

A Taliban commander ahead of an interview with AFP.

The Taliban Are Winning the War of Words in Afghanistan

The government’s radio silence is handing a propaganda victory to the insurgents.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends the NATO summit.

Turkey Looks to Expand Footprint in Afghanistan

Ankara is well positioned to play key roles after the U.S. withdrawal.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen speaks about seven women from Afghanistan who were assassinated for their efforts to improve the lives of Afghans.

Afghan Interpreters in the Crossfire of U.S. Pullout

Future U.S. partners will have to “think twice” about helping the Pentagon if Biden isn’t able to grant visas to Afghan interpreters, lawmakers said.

Members of Afghanistan’s Crisis Response Unit 222, an Afghan special police unit, participate in a training slowed down for the media in Kabul on Sept. 7, 2017.

The United States Needs Central Asian Partners to Protect Afghanistan’s Future

Ambitious post-withdrawal hopes can’t be achieved without bases nearby.

Members of Afghanistan's peace negotiation team

How to Close the Gender Gap in Peace Talks

Women’s representation is critical to lasting peace, but they are losing ground at the negotiating table.

An Afghan Commandos soldier stands guard.

Afghan Air Force Could Be Grounded After U.S. Pullout

The one advantage the Afghan army had on the Taliban looks set to slip away with the hasty U.S. withdrawal.

A street vendor walks past a mural depicting an Afghan National Army soldier in Kabul on June 10.

U.S. Withdrawal Constrains Counterterrorism Options

Biden’s pledge to maintain U.S. capacity in Afghanistan without boots on the ground appears easier said than done.

An Afghan boy looks on in a damaged house near the site of an attack in Kabul.

Taliban Map Out Future Vision for Afghanistan

The militant group’s spokesman vows to “continue our war” until Afghanistan has an Islamic government.

Sons help their father at an Afghan hospital.

Afghanistan Swamped by COVID-19’s Third Wave

The government dithered and denied the pandemic’s severity. Now, a health disaster looms.

With the help of an interpreter (center), an Afghan National Army doctor (left) speaks with a U.S. Army advisor.

Inside Washington’s Fight to Save Afghans Who Saved Americans

Afghan interpreters were promised U.S. visas. Now, red tape may cost them their lives.

Onlookers stand near the site of multiple blasts outside a school.

Terror Attacks Surge in Afghanistan as U.S. Withdraws

Washington hopes to reduce spiraling Taliban violence, but it is losing its most potent leverage: troop presence.

A woman wearing a burqa walks past the site of a shooting in Kabul.

Afghan Women’s Problems Don’t End With the Taliban

A new U.S. intelligence assessment suggests women’s rights in Afghanistan face threats even without a Taliban takeover.

An Afghan man squats while a group of U.S. Army soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division secure the local bazaar in Yayeh Kehl, near Kabul, Afghanistan, on Nov. 14, 2002.

America, the Afghan Tragedy, and the Subcontinent

Four decades of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan have left South Asia transformed—and on the cusp of a realignment.

Director of Afghan Women Network, Mary Akrami, Afghan civil society and women’s rights activist Laila Jafari, and member of the Wolesi Jirga Fawzia Koofi attend the Intra-Afghan Dialogue talks in Doha on July 7, 2019.

Afghanistan Can’t Achieve Stability Without Women

To reach a gender-conscious peace deal with the Taliban, Afghan negotiators need more time—and U.S. support.

Demobilized French soldiers arrive at the Gare de Lyon on their return from the First Indochina War in Paris, in May 1949.

What Biden Should Learn From Indochina

France’s withdrawal shows sometimes the costs of maintaining the status quo are higher than the costs of a drastic policy change.

A U.S. Army helicopter crewman mans a gun on the rear gate as it departs Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul on April 24, 2017.

Leaving Afghanistan Will Be More Expensive Than Anyone Expects

Penalties for broken contracts, fees for shipping equipment, and salaries for the Afghan military are just a few of the costs that will hit the United States as it leaves.

Former Afghan King Mohammed Zahir Shah arrives at Kabul’s international airport.

When Afghanistan Almost Worked

Five decades ago, before the great powers intervened, Afghanistan was on a much better path than today. But the longed-for “decade of democracy” was soon shattered.

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar arrives for peace talks in Moscow.

Afghan Ambassador: ‘The Ball Is in the Taliban’s Court’

Roya Rahmani says the Taliban have no justification for continuing their war after the departure of international troops.

U.S. soldiers stand guard as U.S. President Donald Trump makes a visit to their airbase.

The U.S. Never Can Say Goodbye to Afghanistan

The Pentagon is going to need more firepower to pull out U.S. troops.

Afghan cadets take part in a firing exercise during a training program at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai, India, on Feb. 18.

Afghanistan Shows the Limits of India’s Power

With the United States departing, New Delhi is seeking new ways to project influence.

A young shepherd plays with his sheep.

‘The Taliban Have Tracked Me’

In Logar province, just outside of Kabul, fear of a Taliban takeover rises.

An Afghan man feeds pigeons.

Afghans Don’t Need U.S. Troops. They Need Islands of Stability.

Here’s how the Biden administration can prevent chaos in Afghanistan, even after it withdraws.

U.S. troops return home from Afghanistan

‘Bring the Troops Home’ Is a Dream, Not a Strategy

A full withdrawal from Afghanistan is a costly blunder and failure of leadership.

Children walk through ruins in the Qarabagh district of Afghanistan.

Afghans Haven’t Forgotten Taliban Atrocities

The United States’ withdrawal may be a balm domestically. It’s anything but for those that lived through the horror.

Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives at a U.S. base in Maidan Shar.

From Moral Responsibility to Magical Thinking: How Biden Changed His Mind on Afghanistan

After 9/11, Biden embraced the idea that U.S. troops should leave the country better than how they found it. Now, as president, he’s withdrawing them regardless.

A U.S. soldier during Operation Khanjari in Afghanistan.

Biden Just Made a Historic Break With the Logic of Forever War

But will he really end the United States’ other open-ended conflicts?

U.S. President Joe Biden walks through Arlington National Cemetery.

Biden’s War at Home Over Afghanistan Is Just Beginning

After making the right call on withdrawal, the U.S. president better get ready for second-guessing.

U.S. Army troops from the 10th Mountain Division collect their duffels after returning from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan to Fort Drum, New York, on Dec. 8, 2020.

What to Do With U.S. Forces in the Persian Gulf

As the United States leaves Afghanistan, the question of troops in the Middle East to support the Afghan mission looms large.

biden afghan withdrawal

Is Leaving Afghanistan Misguided or Overdue?

Biden’s withdrawal announcement is meant to end a 20-year war, but Washington has been dragged back into conflicts before.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House in Washington on April 14.

How Will Biden Pivot on South Asia?

After the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, its rivalry with China is likely to define the new administration’s approach to the region.

Biden speaks about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the White House.

U.S. Bucks Won’t Stop in Afghanistan

Biden administration officials have said U.S. troops are leaving the battlefield in Afghanistan, but the U.S. aid spigot won’t end.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan from the Treaty Room in the White House in Washington, on April 14.

The Wisdom of Leaving Afghanistan

The United States hadn’t accomplished its goals in 20 years. The next few weren’t going to make much of a difference.

U.S. Army soldiers arrive home from Afghanistan.

Biden Is Done with Afghanistan. Is Afghanistan Done With America?

Pulling out all U.S. troops is the administration’s risky plan to pressure Kabul and the Taliban to make peace.

Afghan security forces conduct a military operation.

Biden’s Withdrawal Plan Sets the Clock Ticking in Afghanistan

With troops to depart on Sept. 11, the next five months are critical for any chance of peace.

A U.S. soldier fires a rocket-propelled grenade during a firefight with insurgents in the Pech Valley, Afghanistan, on June 22, 2012.

A Masterful Account of America’s Doomed Afghanistan Mission

Wesley Morgan’s “The Hardest Place” is embedded reporting at its finest.

kabul university attack

How Liberal Values Became a Business in Afghanistan

Washington promised to bring liberal democracy to Kabul. It created a bloated and ineffective sector of artificial NGOs instead.

A man reads a local newspaper showing a photograph of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, in Kabul on Nov. 8, 2020.

In Afghanistan, the Choice Isn’t Withdraw or Endless War

A middle path, with a greater role for India, is still possible—and preferable to either extreme.

Women wait to receive wheat in Kabul.

Women Cut Out of the Afghan Peace Process

Two decades of progress are threatened by the Taliban return—and a hasty U.S. exit.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave prior to a meeting in New Delhi on Sept. 14, 2016.

India Joins the Afghan Peace Negotiations

Long sidelined by Islamabad, Moscow, and Beijing, New Delhi is finally taking a seat at the table.

U.S. President Joe Biden with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the White House, Mar. 8.

Austin Calls for ‘Responsible’ End to Afghan War

The U.S. defense secretary, in a surprise visit to Afghanistan, warned that Taliban violence remains “pretty high” as Biden weighs withdrawal.

As vice president, Joe Biden visits an Afghan National Army (ANA) training center in Kabul on Jan. 11, 2011.

Biden’s Options in Afghanistan

The United States and Pakistan must work together to secure the country’s future.

ghani saleh afghan doha talks

There’s No Shortcut to Peace in Afghanistan

Washington’s latest idea of a transitional government would be worse than the dysfunctional status quo.

A general view shows tents at a camp for internally displaced families in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on Jan. 7.

Washington Makes a Last-Ditch Effort for Peace in Afghanistan

The Biden administration’s new strategy could put it on a collision course with President Ashraf Ghani.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department.

In Race Against Time, Biden Officials Launch New Afghan Peace Drive

Washington’s latest proposal would draw on Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran for support.

Joe Biden holds up a copy of his daily schedule, which includes statistics about how many U.S. troops have died while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and updates about the coronavirus caseload in the U.S., while speaking before a roundtable event with military veterans at Hillsborough Community College on Sept. 15, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.

Biden Has a Plan to Not Break Afghanistan

New details are trickling out about how the United States is preparing to withdraw its troops without leaving chaos behind.

Security personnel walks past a wall mural with images of Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, and and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on July 31, 2020.

Biden Has No Good Options in Afghanistan

Facing a May 1 deadline to withdraw U.S. troops, the new administration must walk a tightrope toward peace.