Springfield professor weighs in on the far-reaching impact of the change in power in Afghanistan

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 10:15 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Panic and chaos at the airport in the Afghanistan capitol city of Kabul where the Taliban has taken over control.

Drury Professor and Director of Middle East Studies Jeff VanDenBerg has researched the region for decades.

He says although there’s a lot of uncertainty about how this conflict will play out the Taliban’s focus, at this point, is solely on Afghanistan.

“Its a sad day. Its a sad situation,” he said.

VanDenBerg says the current conflict could have been avoided.

“It could have been a narrower military action targeted against Al Qaeda who was responsible for September 11 and other counter terrorism measures along side that as opposed to a full on occupation,” he explained.

He says it was only a matter of time until the country fell to the militant group.

“The Taliban were highly motivated to take the regime. Most of the police and the military were motivated by pay,” said VanDenBerg.

He says that the next coming weeks and months could set the tone for how this plays out.

“Certainly there are still things that the international community can do to try to pressure the Taliban to moderate their behavior. There’s economic tools, diplomatic tools, certainly counter terrorism action if they provide safe haven to groups like Al Qaeda. Those are all still going to carry out,” he said.

VanDenBerg says that Americans living stateside have little to worry about.

“I’m not sure how interested the Taliban are in projecting their power outside of Afghanistan. I think that’s yet to be seen,” he said.

He says that although the economic market is sensitive to crisis the capture of Afghanistan by the Taliban won’t likely cause a sharp rise in fuel prices.

“There are other things that would cause oil prices to rise. This probably isn’t going to be the main catalyst. Afghanistan is the classic example of other countries, the British, then the Russians now us seeking to impose our will on a country and failing miserably,” said VanDenBerg.

The airport in Kabul resumed operations Monday.

U.S. officials say they hope to fly out up to 5,000 people a day once more of the 6,000 U.S troops being deployed to secure the evacuation arrive.

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