As US, British, and other troops quit Afghanistan, predictably the Taliban is surging forward.
The Taliban had been stalling in negotiations for a post-withdrawal settlement, and there had been an increase in sectarian-Islamist attacks on civilians in the cities (some disavowed by the Taliban, but with not much credibility).
Our answer is not to plead with the USA to put its troops back in Afghanistan. US troops had been there for 20 years, and left the Taliban stronger than they were when Northern Alliance forces (with fairly light US support at the time) routed the Taliban in 2001.
Nor is it to plead with Iran, or Turkey, or other neighbouring powers alarmed at the Taliban surge, to take over the job of bolstering the shaky administration in Kabul, as Turkey has tentatively started to do. Equally, it is not to rejoice in the withdrawal as “liberation”. So far as we are able to do anything, it must be to give solidarity to the cities — both to the unofficial militias newly being formed, and to the huge and well-funded but rickety official Afghan government forces — against the Taliban, which threatens to suppress even the most modest individual freedoms.
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