Review: How the West abandoned Afghanistan in 2021

Andrew Quilty’s account of the western allies’ hasty withdrawal shows the turmoil it created in Afghanistan but lacks context, writes Lynne O’Donnell.

The World Today Published 28 July 2023 3 minute READ

Lynne O’Donnell

Columnist for ‘Foreign Policy’ and author of ‘High Tea in Mosul: The True Story of Two Englishwomen in War-torn Iraq’

August in Kabul: America’s Last Days in Afghanistan
Andrew Quilty, Bloomsbury Academic, £18

Since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan, ending decades of war with a military takeover secured by America’s ignominious surrender, the extremists have deployed terror to impose control, while extending hospitality to old friends who helped them to victory, including Al-Qaeda.People are detained, tortured and killed, some as public spectacle, all without due process as Afghanistan is now a land without law.

Human rights have been sacrificed on political bonfires – first by Donald Trump, the former US president, who struck an exit deal with the Taliban in 2020, then by President Joe Biden, who stuck to it and, latterly, by the United Nations, which operates in breach of its non-discrimination principle as the Taliban have banned it from employing women.

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