What has unfolded in Afghanistan is among the more devastating news of the past months. After about 20 years of Western engagement in the country, a fast-moving withdrawal of personnel was met at speed with the advance of the Taliban across the country. Although recent, we would already like to take the chance to look at how and why the Western engagement ended. Such a view would be incomplete without assessing the previous years since 2001.
Emrah Özdemir provides a macro perspective on the international engagement in Afghanistan, before S. Asef Hossaini delves into the necessity of developing local governance. Then, Katja Mielke sheds light on some key narratives and misconceptions when talking about the Taliban and Anchita Borthakur adds her analysis of the new Taliban administration. Next, Patrick A. Mello outlines the parliamentary debates in the Bundestag on the matter, while Alessandro Arduino devotes attention to China’s influence in particular and Julian Tucker shifts again to the role of international actors.