Coming Full Circle

After 20 years, the country’s old regime is back

In Afghanistan the year 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the 2001 war which was supposed to topple the Taliban regime. These last two decades coincide with the childhood and adolescence of the country’s younger generation.

For the past 30 years, since the last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan after a decade of occupation, the country has known only conflict, terror and instability. The population has endured a long civil war, an oppressive regime, another invasion in 2001, and has heard an endless number of announcements about reconstruction plans, troop surges, exit strategies, peace conferences and political deals which would finally bring peace to their exhausted land.

The latest of these deals was reached in Qatar in 2020, between the U.S. and the same people – the Taliban – which the Coalition forces fought 20 years ago. And now that the U.S. has pulled its last troops out of the country, the Taliban are finallly back to full power, fulfilling the prophecy that one of their leaders, the deceased Mullah Omar, once made to the Americans: “You have all the watches, but we have all the time”.

Not much has changed since that last Soviet soldier left in 1989. And with the Taliban regime at the helm of the country, it is not yet clear whether, and how, anything will change in the near future.

( 2018 )