Tim Marshall asks who will stand against the Taliban in Afghanistan as the USA pull out
According to Joe Biden, ‘Afghans are going to have to decide their own future’. There’s probably a phrase in Pashto, Dari, Uzbek, Balochi, or one of many other Afghan languages which translates as ‘Yeah, right’. The future will be decided by the minority of Afghans with the biggest guns – the Taliban – and by non-Afghans who support or oppose them.
Fast forward through Alexander the Great, the Mongols, the Arabs, the British, the Russians and then the Americans and we see that in troubled times Afghans rarely decide their own future without significant involvement by foreigners. The 28 countries of NATO are merely the most recent to have given up on the ‘Graveyard of Empires’. Their embarrassing retreat may deter outside forces from putting boots on the sand, but not from involving themselves in what comes next.