Coffee House Shots

Is the West in retreat?

15 min listen

The south of Afghanistan is now under Taleban control, after the group took the cities of Kandahar and Lashkar Gah this week. Meanwhile, Britain and America are deploying thousands of troops – as many as were there before the withdrawal began earlier this year – to evacuate expats and the majority of embassy staff. After a 20-year war in Afghanistan, the West is running away.

Britain and her allies, however, will continue to face challenges like Russian aggression and Chinese expansionism in the coming decade. Will we just sit back and accept our decline? Isabel Hardman speaks to James Forsyth and General Sir Richard Barrons, who helped set up the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2001, and was deputy chief of the defence staff from 2011 to 2013.


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