The US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the country’s subsequent fall to the Taliban in the summer of 2021 has thrown long-standing questions about the pros and cons of US-led interventionism into sharp relief. Although dissatisfaction with intervention has been brewing for a while, the fall of Kabul seems to symbolise the end of an era. That is, an era where humanitarian and counterterrorism goals became intertwined in a somewhat unhappy liaison and where the stabilisation and reconstruction of authoritarian post-conflict societies became an important policy goal.
But why did the Afghanistan mission fail? Were there arguments in favour of propping up the Afghan government? Do the scenes from Kabul airport mean that states will think twice about intervening? Or will they merely change their methods, relying on new technologies at their disposal (such as drones)? Will questions about international intervention be increasingly replaced by concerns for Great Power confrontation between the USA and China? Or will arguments about intervention become intertwined with Great Power competition – just as intervention became intertwined with the Bush administration’s War on Terror two decades earlier? What does all of this mean for post-Brexit Britain’s desire to remain an important regional and global military player?
These and similar questions will be up for debate as part of this timely and interactive online event. Participants can expect a lively and engaging debate between experts on foreign policy, intervention, and humanitarianism, with plenty of scope for the voicing of audience opinion.
This event will focus on the future of international intervention in light of the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan this summer, as well as the rise of post-liberal politics in western states more generally. The panel will include several academics from the University of Surrey's Centre for International Intervention, and policy practitioners who have researched and worked intervention since the late 1990s. They will reflect on what many feel went wrong in Afghanistan, as well as the prospect for international intervention going forwards. There will be plenty of opportunity for the audience to ask questions and contribute to this ongoing and very topical debate.
Dr Nick Kitchen, University of Surrey
Alex Leveringhaus, University of Surrey
Adults and young people
General public, policy makers, think tanks, MOD, national Media
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