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America's Exit From Afghanistan: What Went Wrong? What's Next?

APTOPIX Afghanistan
Rahmat Gul/AP
Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. The Taliban declared an "amnesty" across Afghanistan and urged women to join their government Tuesday, seeking to convince a wary population that they have changed a day after deadly chaos gripped the main airport as desperate crowds tried to flee the country. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

And now, an update on Afghanistan. On Sunday, the President, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country as the Taliban made their way into Kabul. He and his family have re-surfaced in the United Arab Emirates. Officials there said they welcomed him on “humanitarian grounds.”

On the real ground in Afghanistan, the situation remains tense and unpredictable. Yesterday, the Pentagon announced it had secured the airport in Kabul and that the evacuation of American embassy personnel and some Afghans who had assisted Americans in the war effort had resumed. Taliban soldiers are facilitating the passage of some people to the airport, and denying access to others. The heartbreaking scenes of chaotic crowds on the runway and desperate people clinging to the fuselage of a plane as it taxied for takeoff, have been replaced by numerous flights with hundreds of Americans, Afghans and other NATO allies finding their way out of the country. But thousands remain.

Brian Katulis is a senior fellow at The Center for American Progress (Photo credit: CAP)

Taliban leadership has announced an amnesty for those who opposed it during the 20-year war, but that claim has been received skeptically, and it is assumed that many people remain in hiding, afraid to venture out and become vulnerable to Taliban retribution.

For analysis of this fluid and perilous situation, Tom welcomes Brian Katulis, a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress, who focuses on national security strategy, the Middle East and counterterrorism.

Brian Katulis joins Tom on Zoom.

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