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Perspective on the History of the Taliban


And I want to bring in another voice now. Wazhmah Osman is an associate professor of globalization and development communication at Temple University. Thank you for being with us.

WAZHMAH OSMAN: Thank you for inviting me.

KEITH: I just wanted to get your perspective on the events of this day thus far. What are you seeing?

OSMAN: I think it's a humanitarian catastrophe and a crisis situation, and so I think that's where both U.S. policymaking efforts and the international community need to focus, which is, how do we help the people on the ground there? And I think they're, on multiple fronts, under attack. And on the one hand, you have the Taliban advance and take over. And on the other hand, you have the casualties, civilian casualties, that are arising from the army's aerial campaigns against the Taliban. And so they're all fleeing. They're in really dire situation, so I think the international community has a responsibility to step up. They have the power to force the cease-fire and negotiate with the Taliban. And then the next steps, I think, are more complicated. But at this point, you know, as a refugee of war myself, I know it's a very difficult position to be in. And it's - you know, your life is in danger, and your family's life is in danger. And so that's what needs to happen first.

KEITH: The Taliban now marching right up to the border of Kabul - their advance has surprised a lot of people. Certainly, it is happening much sooner than the U.S. intelligence community expected, but it's not like the Taliban have come out of nowhere. They were allegedly defeated in 2001. Clearly, they were not.

OSMAN: Yes, and that's a really great point. It's not just that they're a savage, barbaric bunch of Islamic extremists that appeared out of thin air. There was, you know, very specific reasons that led to their creation and their emergence. And that had to do with - after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, there was a power vacuum, and then you had the civil war. And I was there during the civil war, and the situation was extremely violent. And people were getting kidnapped and raped, and all the different jihadi warlords that the U.S. had backed were, you know, vying for power.

Read entire article at NPR