‘We did not go to Afghanistan to nation build’ – President Joe Biden, July 8 2021
One year ago the United States decided to withdraw from Afghanistan after two decades in the country. The Taliban, a militant Islamist group that ran most of Afghanistan in the late 1990s, swept to power without much resistance from the Afghan army and captured Kabul on August 15 2021.
The debacle left Western governments humiliated and ordinary Afghans afraid. The Taliban pledged to govern the country in a less brutal manner than in the past. But without the international funding that had long propped up the economy, millions of Afghans have become unemployed, the banking system has collapsed – partly due to Western sanctions – and according to a United Nations report nearly half the country’s population has been plunged into acute hunger, a problem exacerbated by an ongoing drought and supply disruptions linked to the war in Ukraine.
What responsibility do countries like Britain and the United States have for the current crisis? Should we be delivering more humanitarian aid and working with the Taliban? Should we be accepting more refugees? Is the war on terror over?