Afghanistan: What prospects after US/NATO Withdrawal

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As the US and NATO begin the withdrawal of troops, what will this mean for stability in Afghanistan?

In April 2021, President Biden announced the final withdrawal of US troops – and with them, NATO forces - from Afghanistan, ending the United States’ 20-year engagement with the country and what he defined 'America's longest war'. However, President Biden also added that, while the US "will not stay involved in Afghanistan militarily, our diplomatic and humanitarian work will continue". "We will continue to support the government of Afghanistan”, he vowed.

The decision has rekindled a debate about Afghanistan’s future. Some NATO allies, including the UK, have regretted the fact that the US has not made the withdrawal conditional on Taliban’s future behaviour. The concern is that the removal of troops risks creating a power vacuum and could result in the collapse of the Afghan Government and a takeover by the Taliban.

With the withdrawal scheduled to be completed by 11 September, our discussion explored the impact of this for the country, looking in particular at the stability of the Afghan government and the Taliban’s potential next steps.

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Event In the News

Nato Afghanistan envoy appeals for regional support to ensure the Taliban do not collapse the state

Read the coverage of our event: Afghanistan: What prospects after US/NATO Withdrawal in The National News


  • Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP, Chair, House of Commons Defence Select Committee
  • Antonio Giustozzi, Associate Fellow, RUSI
  • William Byrd, Senior Expert, Afghanistan, United States Institute of Peace
  • Shaharzad Akbar, Chair, Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission

This event was moderated by Dr Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute, who heads our Unpacking the MENA programme.

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