Policy Engagements and Blogs

India Speak: Unpacking the Crisis in Afghanistan

Gautam Mukhopadhaya

August 19, 2021

In this episode of India Speak, Sushant Singh, Senior Fellow at CPR speaks with Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya, former Ambassador to Afghanistan (2010-13) and Senior Visiting Fellow, CPR.

Two weeks before the US was set to complete its troop withdrawal from the region, the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. Major cities fell in a matter of days as the Afghan military and government collapsed rapidly. Chaos ensued as Afghan citizens thronged the airport to flee, some even clinging on to the wheels of a US military aircraft, in a desperate bid to escape the country. What does a takeover by the Taliban mean for Afghanistan, particularly its citizens who have enjoyed the freedoms of the last 20 years? How were the Taliban able to get control so quickly and efficiently? Did India see it coming?

Mukhopadhaya discusses the geopolitical ramifications of this development, the impending impact on women’s rights, and the state of India-US relations. He also highlights how India should best approach this crisis and what the future course of action should be, given past reluctance to talk with the Taliban.