What The Politics?! Episode 48: Discussing Taliban rule, what happens next for Afghanistan

WNCT Podcast Network

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Last week we touched on the 20-year Afghanistan war and the recent withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country. In this week’s episode, we take a deeper dive into the war in Afghanistan and what could be next for the Afghan people, as well as the United States when it comes to foreign interactions.

Our special guest helps us break down how we ended up in Afghanistan in the first place. From the beginning, to the killing of Osama Bin-Laden and from the events of 9/11 to the recent withdrawal. Our guest differentiates between the beliefs and extremist values of the Taliban, ISIS and al-Qaida. He also discusses what will happen to American allies now that the withdrawal period is closed.

There are a lot of questions about what the so-called “new” Taliban rule will mean for its people and other nations in the future. And while most of what we can foresee is speculation, we examine the different outcomes this situation could create.

In this week’s episode, we are joined by Dr. Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow and director of research in Foreign Policy at The Brookings Insitute. He specializes in defense and foreign policy issues.

O’Hanlon currently co-directs the Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology; the Defense Industrial Base working group; and the Africa Security Initiative within the Foreign Policy program. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia and Georgetown universities, a professional lecturer at George Washington University, and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Previously, he was an analyst at the Congressional Budget Office from 1989-1994, as well as previously working at the Insitute for Defense Analyses. He was also a member of the external advisory board at the Central Intelligence Agency from 2011-12.

Dr. O’Hanlon received a doctorate in public and international affairs, as well as a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical sciences, all from Princeton University. From 1982-1984 O’Hanlon was a Peace Corps volunteer in Congo/Kinshasa, where we taught college and high-school-level physics in French.

O’Hanlon has written several hundred op-eds in newspapers including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Japan Times, USA Today and Pakistan’s Dawn paper.  His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, Survival, Washington Quarterly, Joint Forces Quarterly and International Security, among other publications. 

O’Hanlon has appeared on television or spoken on the radio some 4,000 times since September 11, 2001. In 2021, O’Hanlon was named one of Washingtonian’s “Most Influential People” in national security and defense.


Dr. Michael O’Hanlon

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