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Afghanistan: history and lessons unlearned

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27 August 2021
The images coming out of Afghanistan these days are striking. Even more than the necessary words they tell of the tragedy of a population that, after 20 years, is sinking back into the nightmare of the Taliban regime, the fear of a future that knows too much of an unbearable past. To describe it, perhaps better than other distressing sequences, is a heart-wrenching video broadcast on Thursday, 19 August, that shows a woman passing her tiny daughter to an unknown soldier, over the airport’s perimeter wall, begging him to take her to safety. And this is not the only parent to take this desperate, extreme action. The images strike us because of their crudeness and harshness, and it is right that it be this way, because their main task at this moment is to document: the unopposed advance of the Taliban; Taliban leaders in the presidential ...

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