People smuggling is big business. According to government officials in Van province, 1,262 smugglers have been arrested in the area this year, the majority of them from Turkey. Now there are fears that the situation for Afghan migrants is nearing a tipping point that will make it harder and more dangerous for new arrivals hoping to get to Europe.
The closest Prince Turki al-Faisal comes to expressing regret is when he writes that he and his American counterparts might have been too focused on the immediate aim of winning the war in Afghanistan, rather than the potential long-term consequences of their actions.
We don’t want our country to be a playing field for games, great or small, by meddling neighbors or distant hegemons. You can instead respect our rights and sovereignty and see us as empowered people capable of helping ourselves, and the people around us, given a chance.
In this podcast, Farkhondeh Akbari and Andrew Watkins join New Lines for a conversation on Afghanistan. They share their sentiments about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, assessments on decades of American intervention and recent withdrawal, and reflect on the past, present and future.
The Taliban’s newly formed interim cabinet doesn’t include any women. They have banned unauthorized protests and attacked journalists for reporting on them. Yet the protests have continued. The women are fierce. They are not content with simply preserving their rights, they are demanding leadership positions in any new government.
Contrary to how some understand the U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan, the lesson extremists are taking from the Taliban’s success is not simply that jihad works, but that diplomacy and engagement are a necessary part of the process, which includes reassuring the West about external threats emerging from their areas.
The Taliban sensed an opportunity. Eager to win more public support for their insurgency and desperate to prevent the Islamic State from making further inroads into their territory, they decided to escalate the fight against the group.