A quarter century ago, the Taliban established a theocratic authoritarian Islamist regime that engaged in systematic internal repression, denial of human rights to Afghans and remained an international pariah. Initial indications are mixed at best whether their new government will be different this time around. While the Taliban have refrained from large scale reprisal killings, their return has prompted a mass exodus and mounting worries over how they will treat free media, women, minorities and dissent.
Will the Taliban now act on their statements of forming an inclusive government, respecting Afghanistan’s diversity and ensuring services and jobs for all Afghans including women or return to establishing a Sunni clerical dictatorship? Will they honor their counterterrorism commitments and work with the West to ensure aid flows or once again adopt isolation? How can Washington and its allies still influence the Taliban’s behavior?
The Middle East Institute’s (MEI) Afghanistan Watch is pleased to host a panel of esteemed experts to discuss the Taliban’s return to power and what the international community should expect next.
Independent policy and mediation advisor and senior fellow, New York University Center for International Cooperation; senior fellow, New York University Center for Global Affairs
Research associate, Chatham House
Journalist, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Radio Free Afghanistan
Editor, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Gandhara website
Iulia Joja, moderator
Project director, Afghanistan Watch; senior fellow, Frontier Europe Initiative, MEI
Photo by MARCUS YAM/LOS ANGELES TIMES/Getty Images