In the News: The Taliban takeover and the future of Afghanistan

What does the Taliban’s return to power mean for the region and the world?

While the conflict in Afghanistan came to a swift end this week with the Taliban seizing the capital of Kabul and taking complete control of the state, the country is a long way from peace.

US helicopters buzzing over its embassy and flying diplomats out of Kabul were reminiscent of the chaotic collapse of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War more than 40 years ago.

The scenes at the airport in the capital were shocking and a reflection of the panic and fear felt by many Afghans in the wake of this week’s developments.

Thousands of people desperately trying to flee, some so desperate that they clung to US military planes as they taxied down the runway.


Many Afghans are terrified that the return of the Taliban after an absence of almost 20 years will mean a return to the brutal practices of the past.

During the five years of their rule between 1996 and 2001 they ruled with authoritarian terror that is virtually unsurpassed in the modern world. Women were not allowed to work or even be educated beyond the most basic level. They had to cover themselves almost entirely and were not allowed virtually any of the incredibly basic freedoms people have in virtually every other country in the world.

Public stonings, whippings and hangings were common place. Many thought the Taliban would be confined to grimmest pages of the history books after the US invaded following the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Now they are back. But how did this happen? And what does the return of the Taliban mean for the people of Afghanistan, for the region and for the rest of the world

In the News is presented by reporters Sorcha Pollak and Conor Pope.

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