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After the Fiasco: One Year Later, What Next for Afghanistan and the West?

How much responsibility do countries like Britain and the United States have for the current crisis?

‘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?


Speakers

Speakers

Paul Mason

Journalist, writer and film-maker


Journalist, writer and film-maker. He is the former economics editor for Newsnight and Channel 4 News, and author of books including How to Stop Fascism, Postcapitalism and Clear Bright Future: A Radical Defence of the Human Being. In August 2021 he worked to help NGO workers escape Afghanistan during the U.S withdrawal.   

Shabnam Nasimi

Policy Advisor to the U.K Home Office


Policy Advisor to the U.K Home Office focusing on Afghan resettlement. She is the founder and Executive Director of Conservative Friends of Afghanistan, a group that exists to promote understanding and support for Afghanistan in the United Kingdom.  

Jeremy Bowen

BBC Middle East editor


BBC Middle East editor since 2005. Previously he was the BBC's Middle East correspondent based in Jerusalem between 1995 and 2000 and the host of 'Our Man in the Middle East', a Radio 4 show based on Bowen's real-life experiences in the region. He has reported in Afghanistan many times including during the fall of the Soviet withdrawal of Afghanistan in 1989 and the U.S withdrawal in 2021. He is the author of The Making of the Modern Middle East: A Personal History published in September 2022.
Chair

Manveen Rana

Senior investigative journalist and host of The Times and Sunday Times flagship podcast Stories of Our Times


Senior investigative journalist and host of The Times and Sunday Times flagship podcast Stories of Our Times. She was previously a broadcaster and reporter for BBC Radio 4's The Today Programme and The World at One.