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The Afghan aid dilemma

Representatives from some 40 donor countries for Afghanistan gathered on Monday in Geneva to make a tough choice: keep humanitarian aid flowing to a country governed by violent religious zealots, or potentially watch one in three Afghans starve to death this winter.

In the end donors collectively pledged more than $1 billion, well above the $606 million the UN had asked for in order to avoid a famine that would have affected 14 million Afghans, about a third of the population, by the end of the year. But that's a drop in the bucket for the country's immense needs.

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Calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan was a crisis of Biden’s own making

Joe Biden has been looking for a way out of Afghanistan for decades, and regardless of how ugly things get, he's not turning back. After Trump reached a deal with the Taliban in 2020 to end the war, Biden decided to stick with the arrangement, overruling his own generals. Ian Bremmer explains that while he agrees with Biden's decision to get out, he did not foresee the incompetence of the execution. In that sense, the last few weeks have constituted the greatest foreign policy crisis for President Biden to date, and one that was largely self-imposed. Ian looks at four key failures led to this disaster on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Afghanistan, 2021: Afghan & US military perspectives as the last soldier leaves

Enter China, exit policeman: How the world has changed since 9/11

The world has changed dramatically since the terrorist attacks on New York And Washington on September 11, 2001. Pop culture has evolved — significantly — as have the ways we eat, communicate, work, and get our information about the world.

Geopolitically, the past two decades have been transformative, and these developments have impacted how many observers reflect on the post-9/11 era.

Here are three examples of big geopolitical shifts over the past two decades, and how they may influence our understanding of global events today.

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A US veteran on the “betrayal” of leaving Afghans behind

Former US Army Captain Matt Zeller owes his life to an Afghan interpreter and resents what he sees as the Biden administration's decision to let the Taliban dictate the terms of the withdrawal. He asks Americans to think about all the Afghans who got left behind despite risking their own lives to help US forces. "Put yourself in their shoes," urges Zeller, who has a sobering message for America after leaving Afghanistan: "We're now going to carry a moral injury that will never abate. A scar that will never disappear." Watch his visceral testimonial on this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer.

Watch the episode: Afghanistan, 2021: Afghan & US military perspectives as the last soldier leaves

What We're Watching: Taliban government, Bolsonaro’s insurrection sputters, Myanmar uprising

Taliban name interim government: Three weeks after taking over Afghanistan, the Taliban on Tueaday appointed an interim government made up largely by veterans of the 20-year war against the US. The most high-profile names are PM Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund, foreign minister under the first Taliban regime (1996-2001); interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, with a $5 million US bounty because he's the leader of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, a group responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on US and Afghan forces; and deputy PM Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's top negotiator with the US in Qatar. The Taliban had promised an inclusive government that would represent all Afghans, but the interim one is dominated by ethnic Pashtuns. It also has exactly the number of women most predicted: zero. The Taliban hope that an interim cabinet will make it easier for them to gain international recognition and to get on with the complicated business of governing Afghanistan — and find the money to do so.

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Story of an escape from Afghanistan; "I wasn't supposed to be on that plane” - Ahmady

When Ajmal Ahmady saw the Taliban were about to take over Afghanistan, he knew it was time to get out — fast. The former central bank chief was lucky enough to board a flight, unlike so many of his fellow Afghans desperate to flee. "I was not supposed to be on that plane," Ahmady tells Ian Bremmer about his harrowing escape on this episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Afghanistan, 2021: Three perspectives on the brutal close of a 20-year war

Afghanistan, 2021: Afghan & US military perspectives as the last soldier leaves

Two decades of war in Afghanistan came to a tragic close on August 31 as President Joe Biden announced from the White House that the last US troops had left the country. "I was not going to extend this forever war," Biden said, "and I was not extending a forever exit." On GZERO World, we hear from three people whose lives have been forever changed by the conflict. First, a women's education activist hiding from the Taliban inside Afghanistan, moving every night for her own safety. Then, the former Afghan Central Bank governor, now in exile who barely made it out (and lost a shoe in the process). And finally, a former US Army Captain and CIA intelligence officer whose life was saved by his Afghan interpreter and who is now in a desperate race to help Afghans and their families get out of the country.

Biden's mistakes in Afghanistan were not "dereliction of duty"

In his latest Washington Post op-ed, Marc Thiessen makes strong statements about how and why the Taliban came to take control of Kabul. There have been big mistakes in executing this exit. But "dereliction of duty?" Not in our view. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst explain why in this edition of The Red Pen.

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