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18 August 2021

The fall of Afghanistan: all the New Statesman’s coverage

Read all our reporting and analysis of the Taliban’s takeover.

By New Statesman

Taliban insurgents took Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul on 15 August, cementing the end of President Ashraf Ghani’s Western-backed government and leading to scenes of chaos at the city’s airport. Millions of vulnerable Afghan citizens and foreign nationals are now urgently in need of aid and resettlement.

In the days leading up to the fall of Kabul, the New Statesman analysed the consequences for Afghanistan and the world. As the fallout from the Taliban’s victory continues, further NS coverage will be collated on this page.

Rory Stewart interview: Why Afghanistan marks the end of liberal interventionism

By George Eaton

The former cabinet minister on why there was no need for the US to withdraw from Afghanistan, why Joe Biden is “continuity Trump” and what the UK must do now.

Leon Neal/Getty Images

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Podcast: The fall of Kabul, with John Simpson

By Jeremy Cliffe, Emily Tamkin

The World Review podcast discusses Afghanistan’s history of rapid takeovers, the failings of the US and its allies, and what life is like under Taliban rule.

Marc Tessensohn / Bundeswehr via Getty Images

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Afghanistan’s plight and its contested future are a reassertion of the brutal realities of geography

By Jeremy Cliffe

The Taliban takeover could spark a contest for influence between regional powers like China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan.

AFP / Getty Images

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The fall of Kabul has left an intellectual void at the heart of British foreign policy

By Stephen Bush

The UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was ultimately decided by Washington, and the government was powerless to stop it.

Getty Images

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The Taliban’s new reign of terror

By John Simpson

The US retreat ensured a victory for the militant group. Despite talk of moderation, a creed of savage misogyny will now shape Afghanistan’s future.

 

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Leader: Biden’s great betrayal

By New Statesman

The US president may plead that the Afghans are a faraway people to whom he owes nothing – but he could yet rue betraying them.

Lorenzo Tugnoli / Washington Post/ Contrasto / Eyeline

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The Afghanistan crisis shows Europe cannot wall itself off from the world

By Ido Vock

As migration linked to conflict and climate change escalates, the EU will need to rethink its approach to refugees.

Chris Mcgrath / Getty Images
 

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Why Joe Biden is wrong to say that Afghans did not fight for themselves

By Ben Van Der Merwe

Nearly 70,000 Afghan soldiers and police, and 47,000 civilians died in the 20-year conflict.


Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

 

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Why Tories are in despair over Boris Johnson’s handling of the Afghanistan crisis

By Simon Heffer

Conservatives are stuck with a leader incapable of taking important decisions and who is held in contempt by his Western peers.
Stefan Rousseau – Pool/Getty Images

 

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The Taliban has taken lessons from the global jihadist movement

By Shiraz Maher

A dangerous and empty rhetoric of moderation has helped jihadist groups across the world endure.

Karim Jaafar / AFP
 

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As the US abandons Afghanistan, the West will soon learn that “troops out” has consequences too

By James Bloodworth

Voters in the US and Europe may have had enough of “forever wars”, but there will be no escaping the impact of America’s retreat into isolationism.


Anna Moneymaker/ Getty Images
 

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Diary: Why Kabul’s falls to the Taliban was predictable

By Bruno Maçāes

Living in Afghanistan’s capital the week before the Taliban captured the city, Bruno Maçāes found a reality at odds with US intelligence.

Shakib Rahmani, AFP via Getty Images
 

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The US’s retreat from world affairs presents tough choices for the UK

By Stephen Bush

Joe Biden is following Barack Obama and Donald Trump in seeking to detach his country from Europe.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

 

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Joe Biden passes the buck over the Afghanistan crisis

By Emily Tamkin

An unrepentant US president blamed Afghans for the Taliban’s victory.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
 

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The Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan exposes the UK’s abandonment of refugees

By Anoosh Chakelian

As Boris Johnson fails to say how many Afghan refugees the UK will save, “Global Britain” yet again turns away from the world.

Yui Mok – Pool/ Getty Images

 

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The Taliban’s victory leaves Afghanistan in chaos

By Ido Vock

The repercussions of the fall of the Afghan state will be felt for years to come.


AFP via Getty Images​
 

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Joe Biden needlessly abandoned the Afghan people and Britain stood idly by

By Tom Tugendhat

In the worst foreign policy failure since the Suez crisis, the UK has desperately lacked the speed and decisiveness required. 


Getty Images
 

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How much did the Afghanistan war cost the US?

By Aisha Majid

Official estimates show the war cost $1trn but unofficial figures suggest the real figure was more than double that.

Getty Images
 

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The Afghan government’s collapse is a humiliation for the United States and Joe Biden

By Ido Vock

The US president’s insistence that the Taliban would not retake Afghanistan was disastrously complacent.

 
Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images​
 

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Diary: Witnessing the last days of Ashraf Ghani’s Afghanistan

By Lynne O’Donnell

As Taliban forces enter Kabul, foreign correspondent Lynne O’Donnell reports on the horrors following in their wake.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
 

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In Afghanistan, a reviled president is being exposed as powerless

By Bruno Maçāes

The Afghan state is not so much collapsing before our eyes as revealing itself as a fiction.

AFP/Getty Images
 

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Will the US withdrawal from Afghanistan come to haunt Joe Biden’s presidency?

By Emily Tamkin

The rapid resurgence of the Taliban extends a deep history of American betrayal and error.


Alex Wong/Getty Images

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What the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan means for the rest of the world

By Stephen Bush

One consequence will be a more volatile international stage and a greater threat from jihadist terror in the UK.


Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
 

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Our indifference to the fate of Afghanistan’s people may become a source of national shame

By Stephen Bush

The Taliban’s recapture of Afghanistan will be one of the dominant stories of the next few months.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
 

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The graveyard of empires: Why American power failed in Afghanistan

By Adam Tooze

In the 1990s the Taliban exploited and took charge of a country eviscerated by war with the Soviet Union. Will it do the same again today?

Dan Kitwood – Pool/Getty Images