‘The Fall of Kabul’ spotlights chaotic Afghanistan

The Fall of Kabul by Nayanima Basu

Image credit Bloomsbury

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Indian journalist chronicles chaos in Kabul after Taliban captured Afghanistan

By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, July 5: Journalist Nayanima Basu in her book ‘The Fall of Kabul’ has spotlighted the chaos after the Taliban stormed the capital of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021.

Basu on Friday shared her experiences of covering the events that unfolded after the Taliban captured Kabul at the India International Centre. Senior journalist R. Prasannan moderated the discussion over the book with panellists, former diplomats – Rakesh Sood and T. C. A. Raghavan.

The diplomats lauded the decision of Basu to rush to Kabul at a time when the Afghanistan capital had plunged into turmoil. The US had decided to withdraw from Afghanistan, but the Taliban had stormed Kabul even before the Americans had left the hotspot.

“In place of rehashing the news stories of the foreign newspapers, I wanted to cover the story from the ground. The experiences of covering the event in a span of 12-day changed my perspective about Afghanistan,” said Basu.

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The author said that she could visit places where male journalists could not go such as salons to understand the unfolding event in Kabul. “The people there said that the Taliban had already been in their midst,” said Basu.

She visited Mazare-e-Sharif to make a sense of the situations in Afghanistan.

Sood complimented Basu for her “courageous decision” to fly into Kabul in times of chaos. “The conflict zone reporting is a key to gain insight into the unfolding events. But we now are in a situation when there is no presence of Indian journalist in Pakistan, and vice versa. Only one Indian journalist is currently reporting from China,” said Sood.

Sood gave an account of the distractions in the American establishment on the matter of Afghanistan. He said that the US had been more preoccupied with Iraq.

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Sood had been an Indian ambassador in Afghanistan. Raghavan was India’s ambassador to Pakistan. He shared the insight of Pakistan milking the US in Islamabad’s gambit of managing the Taliban.

Prasannan, who is Resident Editor of The Week, shared anecdotes about Afghanistan, while moderating the discussion.

Raghav Sharma of the Centre for Afghanistan Studies spotlighted the roles of the tribal identities even while they never carved out independent domains outside the war-ravaged Islamic nation.

The panellists in the discussion noted the chaotic withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan, throwing thousands of the Afghan nationals to the Taliban. The role of the Indian embassy in Kabul was also discussed, as it was stated that a number of Afghan students and patients were deprived of opportunities to come to India.

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