Perspective on Afghanistan, With Richard N. Haass

In this special episode, CFR President Richard N. Haass examines the war in Afghanistan and the lessons to be learned in its wake.

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  • Gabrielle Sierra
    Director, Podcasting

Asher Ross - Supervising Producer

Markus Zakaria - Audio Producer and Sound Designer

Rafaela Siewert - Associate Podcast Producer

Episode Guests
  • Richard Haass
    President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations

Show Notes

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country, has prompted a moment of national debate about the war’s cost and legacy. Many are asking what went wrong and what the conflict accomplished. 

For insight, Why It Matters turned to CFR President Richard N. Haass, who has spent four decades studying and advising on Afghanistan. As head of policy planning for the State Department under U.S. President George W. Bush, and later as U.S. coordinator for the future of Afghanistan, Haass was in the room when many of the earliest and most important decisions about the war were shaped. In this episode, he offers his critique of how the war unfolded and raises potential lessons the United States should consider as it turns its eyes to future challenges.


Dig Deeper 



From Richard N. Haass


America’s Withdrawal of Choice,” CFR 


From CFR


How the Afghan Army Collapsed Under the Taliban’s Pressure,” Max Boot


The U.S. War in Afghanistan,” Zachary Laub and Lindsay Maizland


We All Lost Afghanistan,” P. Michael McKinley, Foreign Affairs


The Taliban in Afghanistan,” Lindsay Maizland


Biden Was Right,” Charles A. Kupchan


“Global Conflict Tracker: War in Afghanistan,” Center for Preventive Action


The Legacy of the U.S. War in Afghanistan in Nine Graphics,” Lindsay Maizland 


Read More


After Taliban triumph, Biden faces even greater test in preventing extremist resurgence in Afghanistan,” Washington Post


Fear Spreads in Kabul as Taliban Take Charge,” New York Times


Around the halls: The Taliban retakes Afghanistan,” Brookings Institution


Live Updates: Taliban Consolidate Control in Afghanistan,” Wall Street Journal    


Why Biden was so set on withdrawing from Afghanistan,” Vox  


Can America Still Help Afghanistan? 8 Former Officials on What’s Next.,” Politico  


Watch and Listen


President Biden Remarks on Afghanistan,” C-SPAN


What Went So Wrong In Afghanistan?,” NPR 


‘The way the withdrawal has been handled has been an absolute catastrophe’—Afghanistan falls,” Economist 

The Fall of Afghanistan,” New York Times

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