Afghanistan – What lies ahead?
On August 15th, the Taliban swept into power by taking control of the capital Kabul. After 20 years of fighting the former government and international forces, the Taliban has effectively won the war and is in the process of consolidating control over the country. Contrary to promises made during two years of intensive political engagement with the US and the world in Doha, a moderate, accommodating side of the Taliban is yet to be seen. They have taken down the tri-colour national flag and re-instituted the “Islamic Emirate,” the formal name of the country under the Taliban rule in the late 1990s.
For the Afghan people and those watching from the region and beyond, the situation remains fluid and uncertain, as does the future of Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. Will the gains of the past 20 years be lost and replaced by a draconian rule, a throwback to the Taliban government in the 1990s? Will human rights and freedoms, and women’s active role in public life, become a thing of the past? And crucially, will the new government obtain the much needed international recognition? How will the apparent divide between regional countries and the wider international community play out in the political arena in the weeks and months to come?
During this period of uncertainty, the Heart of Asia Society will continue to share updates and provide analysis from our team and partners on the ground and elsewhere on the situation in Afghanistan under this page “Afghanistan – What lies ahead?”