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History As It Happens

Sep 1, 2022

It’s been said that history does not repeat but it does rhyme. A generation after seizing power for the first time in an Afghanistan destroyed by war, the Taliban returned to Kabul last August after enduring another long conflict with foreign invaders. As ever, the Taliban mystify observers who do not understand how these fanatical holy warriors prevailed against a militarily superior opponent and over a population that disapproves of its authoritarian edicts and brutal repression. In this episode, Andrew Watkins, a senior expert on Afghanistan at the U.S. Institute of Peace who has conducted extensive field research in Taliban country, discusses the group’s origins in the early 1990s and the reasons for their staying power.