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Challenging Our Understanding of the Taliban

MIN READAug 9, 2021 | 10:00 GMT

Members of the Taliban participate in talks with the Afghan government on July 18, 2021, in Doha, Qatar.

Members of the Taliban participate in talks with the Afghan government on July 18, 2021, in Doha, Qatar.

(KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Most assessments of U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as the predicted advances of the Taliban, focus on two key outcomes: 1) the reversal of Western human rights and standards in the country, particularly for women, and 2) the devolution of Afghanistan into a terrorist base for outward strikes against distant foreign powers. These are not necessarily wrong perceptions, particularly given the history of the Taliban’s first conquest of Afghanistan. But it is important to also seek alternative historical analogies, even if only to test the currently accepted model. ...

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