Taliban Rule in Afghanistan
Taliban Rule in Afghanistan
Podcast / Asia 1 minutes

Taliban Rule in Afghanistan

This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Afghanistan experts Graeme Smith and Ibraheem Bahiss — both back from a recent visit to Kabul — about life under Taliban rule, the Taliban government’s recent decision to keep girls’ secondary schools closed and Afghanistan’s relations with the outside world.

It’s been almost nine months since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. What for years had been the world’s deadliest war is mostly over and the country is suffering considerably less violence, though reprisals against some former members of the security forces and attacks by the local Islamic State branch continue. Afghanistan is also in the grips of an economic crisis. The UN and humanitarian organisations managed to stave off a famine over the past winter. But the situation remains dire as the prices of staples rise and the Afghan central bank has collapsed. The economic squeeze largely owes to Western policy, particularly donors cutting off all but essential aid, and Western capitals seizing Afghanistan’s assets and applying pre-existing sanctions on the Taliban insurgency to the state as a whole. The Taliban’s decision, on 23 March, not to reopen girls’ secondary schools across the country, despite repeatedly promising to do so, has made it even less likely that donors will reverse course. That decision is only one of several recent edicts that suggest a harder line by the Taliban government.

This week on
Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Crisis Group’s Afghanistan experts Graeme Smith and Ibraheem Bahiss, both recently returned from their first trip to the country since the Taliban seized control. They talk about their time in the capital Kabul and how it compares to life before the takeover. They explain the impact of the country’s economic isolation, dependence on humanitarian aid and faltering central banking system — in particular the costs for millions of Afghans struggling to scrape by. They discuss in depth Western policies related to aid, the frozen assets and sanctions. They break down the Taliban’s decision to keep girls’ secondary schools closed and what that says about debates within, and the direction of, the Taliban government. They also describe resistance to that decision among many Afghans and prospects for teenage girls desperate to get back to school.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more on Afghanistan, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Afghanistan country page.


Executive Vice President
Naz Modirzadeh
Professor of International Law and Armed Conflicts, Harvard University
Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
Analyst, Afghanistan

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