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Back To The Future: Fear And Uncertainty In Afghanistan As Radical Taliban Takes Charge

New victors in the Great Game’s old theatre script another tragic twist in the Afghan story, with the ripples likely to cross borders

Back To The Future: Fear And Uncertainty In Afghanistan As Radical Taliban Takes Charge
Photograph by AP
Back To The Future: Fear And Uncertainty In Afghanistan As Radical Taliban Takes Charge
outlookindia.com
2021-08-20T15:34:29+05:30

Time moves in a straight line according to Western notions. But on the sun-baked edges of the Near East, time can get seriously warped. In Afghanistan, it turned full circle the other day—and so, in a year not untouched by epochal tragedy, we now have one more to contemplate. The Taliban are back. They took Kabul without firing a shot. This stunning collapse was the story in city after provincial Afghan city—minimal fighting, except in Herat and a few other places—as the Taliban spread like a pandemic, its takeover near-total. Their second coming imparts a tectonic shock to a whole trans-Asian region— those affected by this born-again Kalashnikov caliphate include India, China, Pakistan, Russia, Iran and the Central Asian republics. The old ­theatre of the Great Game, to be precise, with a new 21st century edition promised now—complete with untold ­humanitarian tragedies as footnotes.

What brought this about? The spectre of American military imperialism in one more historical retreat. Twenty years after invading Afghanistan with a...

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