The US is withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan after President Biden’s decision to pull out by 11 September 2021. Its departure means that British and other NATO contingents are also leaving the country. Yet fighting is intensifying with a rising death toll every day. Women and other civil society activists are also being assassinated. The “Great Game” with high stakes is back. Many regional players are also involved. The Taliban is gaining ground on the battlefield. Can 20 years of gains in building civil society, human rights and democracy, be saved? What chances are there now for the intra-Afghan talks to end the war and bring peace?

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