What Next

How Afghanistan Ended Like This

The Taliban is back in control. What happened?


Episode Notes

American forces are leaving Afghanistan after 20 years of fighting the country’s longest war. Following a hasty withdrawal of U.S. forces, the Taliban now controls most of the country, including the capital of Kabul. The U.S.-backed government has fled, leaving many civilians desperate to find a way out. How did things get so bad so quickly?

Guest: Fred Kaplan, Slate’s War Stories columnist. Kaplan is the author of The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War.

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Davis Land, Danielle Hewitt, Elena Schwartz and Carmel Delshad.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Wilson is a founding producer for What Next and a former producer for The Gist.