“Although many people were surprised at the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, in truth they had shadow governments around the country for years. In 2019, I visited a village in a district that is part of the capital, and that district was already governed by the Taliban. This is a place 20 minutes from the presidential palace and the Taliban were there and were governing. The Taliban’s “shadow state” was happening in front of the doors of the politicians who were installed by the West.”
In a special podcast on the fall of Kabul and its aftermath, Newlines’ Faisal Al Yafai speaks to three reporters who were on the ground in Afghanistan before, during and after the takeover by the Taliban. Emran Feroz, Fazelminallah Qazizai and Shelly Kittleson discuss reporting from around the country, firsthand testimony of what it felt like to see the Taliban walk unopposed into a city they were exiled from 20 years ago — and what the Taliban might do in the next weeks and months.