Farooq Yousaf & Moheb Jabarkhail
Pages 117-134 | Received 13 Sep 2021, Accepted 13 Sep 2021, Published online: 03 Oct 2021
Full Citation: Yousaf, F., & Jabarkhail, M. (2022). Afghanistan’s future under the Taliban regime: engagement or isolation?. Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, 17(1), 117-134.
Abstract: On August 31, 2021, the US completed its twenty-year war on terror in Afghanistan. Soon after, the Taliban and its allies established full control over Afghanistan. As the days pass, observers, both within and outside the country, are wondering what the future holds for a Taliban-led Afghanistan. This paper, using mainstream and social media sources in Pashto, English and Urdu, seeks to paint a picture of the Taliban’s PR campaign, propaganda messaging and future direction in terms of governance in Afghanistan. The paper argues that the Taliban of 2021 are different from the Taliban of 1996, at least in terms of their media messaging, propaganda and political manoeuvring. However, even with this evolution, the situation for gender and media rights presents a grim future. In its concluding section, the paper proposes short, medium and long-term policy recommendations for the international community that focus on ensuring basic human rights, evacuation of under-threat Afghan and foreign nationals, clear messaging on the Taliban, a possible working relationship with a Taliban regime and focusing on the long-term well-being of the Afghan population.