September 27, 2021
General News

The Taliban’s return has plunged the Middle East into uncharted waters

In 2001, the fall of the Taliban was the first major milestone in America’s so-called “war on terror” that ultimately transformed both the country and the Middle East. Twenty years later, the group’s return to power in Kabul has thrust the region, still limping from the unspeakable damage of that war, into uncharted waters.

If the US invasion of Afghanistan prompted intensified American intervention in the Middle East, then its exit from the country also signals an accelerated drawdown from a region that has long served as a gravitational center of political tension. The dramatic scenes from Afghanistan have sounded alarm bells throughout the Middle East, raising the specter of a hasty undoing of an economic and political order that has hinged on, or sought to counter, a large US presence in the region.

A flurry of diplomatic and military activity preceded the withdrawal from…

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