September 19, 2022

Time to Get Tough on the Taliban

By Lisa Curtis and Nader Nadery

One year after the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan, it is clear that the extremist group has changed little since it first seized control of the country in 1996. In March 2022, the Taliban decided not to reopen girls’ secondary schools throughout the country—as it had vowed to do just two days earlier—putting an end to any hopes that the group would rule the country differently this time around. And, in the weeks since a CIA drone strike killed al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in a leafy Kabul enclave, it has become even more clear that the Taliban continues to harbor terrorist groups.

As Washington reduces its diplomatic engagement with the Taliban, it should also focus on finding creative ways to support Afghan civil society

Getting tougher on the Taliban would not mean interfering with humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. It would mean working closely with the United Nations and like-minded countries to impose consequences on the Taliban for their unacceptable behavior and withholding high-level engagement with the group until its leadership pursues more moderate policies.

Read the full article from Foreign Affairs.

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