The Last Days of the Afghan Republic: A Doomed Evacuation 20 Years in the Making

From the publisher:

It is difficult to overstate the chaos of August 2021 for many of those in Afghanistan, particularly those who had worked closely with the international community there. In a matter of days, U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan and an insurgency threw out a government the international community had spent 20 years and billions of dollars supporting. A government that claimed to stand for women’s rights, freedom of the press, education and a litany of other ideals was replaced by one that did not allow girls to attend secondary school. The world watched for two weeks as crowds rushed the airport, bodies fell from planes, a suicide bomber killed civilians and soldiers, and a baby was handed to a Marine over a barbed-wire wall. The agony of lives so clearly destroyed, as people tried to flee their homeland with little to nothing, felt like images seen in the wake of natural disasters. But this was not a natural disaster. It was completely avoidable.

Part memoir and part history, The Last Days of the Afghan Republic tells this story through the experiences of Arsalan, Fatima, Zeinab and Najeeb: a scholar, a doctor, a student and a translator. These young men and women had bought into the promise of the international intervention—that if they studied, worked hard and believed in democracy and human rights, Afghanistan could become a new country. Their lives also tell the story of Afghanistan over the past 30 years. They recount, from the ground up, the political decisions on the American side that led to the “forever war,” the way that Afghan political partners squandered opportunities and the ways in which the U.S. presence unevenly reshaped Afghan society.


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