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Afghanistan’s cri­sis start­ed well be­fore Au­gust 2021

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On the morning of August 15, 2021, I boarded a 9am flight from Kabul to Istanbul, thinking I would be back at work in a few days’ time at the Afghan state-owned national utility company I called the office.

When we landed in Istanbul late afternoon, the beeps and dings of cellphone notifications from people’s devices were soon replaced by gasps and cries. Within seconds, I saw grown men and women fall to the airport floor in tears. While we were in the air, Afghanistan’s elected leadership had fled and the Taliban had arrived in Kabul. I would eventually see images of Taliban fighters walking on the grounds of my old offices in the presidential palace.

Everything I had spent the past seven years working towards unravelled in the time we were in the air. In the weeks and months prior, my colleagues and I were negotiating long-term power-purchase agreements and investments in Afghanistan’s energy sector. We were discussing 10 and 25-year plans. We were developing strategies to turn Afghanistan into a regional hub for connectivity. I believed in a vision of a sustainable, self-reliant country if only the latest war would end.

The war did end, but instead of connecting Asia with the world, Afghanistan — which sits at the heart of the continent — is now isolated. Its people are without money, jobs and........

© Al Jazeera

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