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Ahmed Rashid outlines the new political reality in Afghanistan

The Taliban regime is struggling to govern Afghanistan. The country faces potential famine and economic hardship, with a long winter ahead. Many Afghans feel desperate and are likely to flee as refugees or risk their lives in widespread protests. What can we expect to see from the Taliban under these conditions?

Few people know more about the Taliban than journalist and author Ahmed Rashid, who wrote the book on the group — literally. In the months after 9/11, his critically acclaimed 2000 study, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil & Fundamentalism in Central Asia, became a go-to reference as the US geared up to invade Afghanistan and knock the militant group from power. Rashid spoke with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World about the so-called “Taliban 2.0.” How much has the group changed since the days of soccer-stadium executions, television bans, and blowing up world heritage sites?

How will the Taliban handle ISIS and other terrorist groups?

Though the Taliban is now in control of Afghanistan, terrorist groups still operate freely throughout the country. Among them is ISIS-Khorasan (or ISIS-K), which was created in 2015 by disaffected members of the Taliban who pushed for a more hardline approach to Islam.
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Has the Taliban changed since the 1990’s?

The Taliban regained total control of Afghanistan on August 30, 2021, when the US withdrew after twenty years of war. But the militant group claims to have reformed, and has even tried to show a softer side, perhaps to contrast the barbaric scenes from the last time they were in control from 1996 until 2001.
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Will any countries recognize the Taliban?

No country is in a big hurry to recognize the Taliban, explains journalist Ahmed Rashid, even those that likely will do so in the future: Pakistan, China, and Russia. “They understand that if they recognize the Taliban, it's going to lead to a major division in the international community,” he told Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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The Taliban has only made “cosmetic changes” since the 1990s, says author Ahmed Rashid

The Taliban may have allowed “cosmetic changes” - like allowing younger fighters to take photos with iPhones – but their governing style hasn’t truly changed, renowned author Ahmed Rashid told Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. In fact, not much about the group has actually reformed since he wrote his groundbreaking book, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia.

“We thought for a long time that the Taliban would be educating and training their younger generation to become bureaucrats and handlers of civil society, but we were wrong,” he said. In fact, the moderate faction of the Taliban have been losing out to the hardliners, which includes members of the Haqqani network, a US-designated terrorist organization.

Taliban 2.0: Afghanistan on the Brink (US AWOL)

Few people know more about the Taliban than journalist and author Ahmed Rashid, who wrote the book on the group — literally.

In the months after 9/11, his critically acclaimed 2000 study Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil & Fundamentalism in Central Asia became a go-to reference as the US geared up to invade Afghanistan and knock the militant group from power.

Now, twenty years later, with the US out of Afghanistan and the Taliban back in charge, Ian Bremmer sat down with Rashid to learn more about the Taliban today in a GZERO World interview.

How much has the group changed since the days of soccer-stadium executions, television bans, and blowing up world heritage sites? How should the rest of the world deal with them?

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Podcast: Don’t believe the “Taliban 2.0” hype, cautions journalist Ahmed Rashid

Listen: With the US gone and the Taliban back in control, Afghanistan faces a long winter. Mounting food insecurity and a crumbling economy have left many Afghans feeling abandoned. The international community could help solve this humanitarian crisis, but can they trust the Taliban?

Ian Bremmer sat down with journalist and author Ahmed Rashid to learn more about the Taliban today. Few people know more about the Taliban than Rashid, who wrote the book on the group — literally. In the months after 9/11, his critically acclaimed 2000 study Taliban became a go-to reference as the US geared up to invade Afghanistan and knock the militant group from power. Twenty years later, how much has the group changed since the days of soccer-stadium executions, television bans, and blowing up world heritage sites?

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The Taliban may crack down harder if Afghan people protest, warns journalist Ahmed Rashid

Will the Taliban be able to maintain control over the entire country of Afghanistan if the ongoing hunger and economic crisis worsens?

Civil disobedience is likely to expand from women's protests to widespread unrest, said journalist Ahmed Rashid, especially if humanitarian aid only reaches the hands of Taliban loyalists and the country’s urban elites.

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