Afghanistan: Getting Out 21 August 2022: Episode 2 on BBC Two

Afghanistan: Getting Out 21 August 2022: Episode 2 on BBC Two 11

Key players on all sides give a unique insight into the dramatic events behind the scenes that led to the fall of Kabul in 2021.

President Trump came to power on a promise to bring all American troops back home. Having initially been persuaded by his chief of staff, general John Kelly, to reverse his position and deploy more troops to Afghanistan, Trump soon backtracks and decides again he wants troops out. Against the will of his national security advisor John Bolton, he appoints former ambassador Zalmay Khalizad to start direct negotiations with the Taliban. Determined to get a result, Khalizad cuts out President Ghani’s government and agrees to a unilateral withdrawal. The Afghans are aghast.

President Biden then comes to power. Long a critic of the US presence in Afghanistan, he controversially decides to stick to Trump’s deal and sets a firm date for withdrawal. The Afghan government then begins their own negotiations with the Taliban, which end with the Taliban agreeing not to enter Kabul until a deal is struck.

Then come the dramatic events of 15th August 2021. As President Ghani’s team continue to negotiate, the Taliban arrive on the outskirts of Kabul. Despite their promise not to enter the city, some do, and Ghani is rapidly evacuated – leaving his chief of staff at the presidential palace still believing there is a deal to be done. But with Ghani’s departure the die is cast, and the Taliban soon enter Kabul, resulting in the terrifying scenes that shocked audiences across the world.

With the help of contributors such as Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly, former national security advisor John Bolton, President Ghani’s national security advisor and chief of staff, and the head of the Afghan army, this is the inside story of how two US presidents, of contrasting styles and political stripes, arrived at the same policy – to get out of Afghanistan regardless of the consequences.

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This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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