A new civil war in Afghanistan risks spreading disorder around the world

Foreign intervention in the nation has fanned the flames of a crisis that could now be harder to contain, writes Mary Dejevsky

<p>An Afghan national army soldier stands guard following an explosion in Kabul</p>

An Afghan national army soldier stands guard following an explosion in Kabul

The news from Afghanistan becomes grimmer with each passing day. Since Joe Biden announced the US withdrawal in April and declared the effective end of the 20-year mission last month, Taliban forces have advanced on key border posts and cities. It is not at all clear how able or willing the largely western-trained Afghan army is to hold its ground. Its early performance has not been promising.

Those with experience are forecasting more bloodshed before anything gets better – if it even does. David Petraeus, appointed commander of international forces in Afghanistan by Obama, has warned that the country is disintegrating and that the US has abandoned the Afghans to faced “a brutal, bloody civil war”.

One-time UK development secretary, Rory Stewart, who walked across Afghanistan in 2002, foresees a return to the warlordism of the 1990s, with some of the same ruthless individuals in charge.

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