Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! series
"We Give Them Schools, Hospitals, Democracy. Why Don't They Love Us?" Outside Intervention in Afghanistan, 2001-2021
- Thursday 7 October 2021
- Please register below
- What's New?! Fall Lecture Series 2021
2311 BD Leiden
- *Room changed to 0.03
Please note that, due to popular demand, the room of this lecture has been changed to Lipsius 0.03
For almost twenty years the Western powers have tried to build up a sustainable democratic state in Afghanistan. In August of this year that dream came to an end. Much has already been written about what went wrong, and no doubt much more will still be written long after we have gone ourselves. After all, the (in)famous 'Retreat from Kabul' by some 16,500 British Indian troops and followers in January 1842 is still the subject of an almost interminable stream of books and films.
But let us try and address the issue: what went wrong? In this ‘lecture’ I do not want to go over the same points that have been mentioned repetitively in the media; most of them focus on the failures of the West. Instead I would like to address, with the audience, the question in a more balanced way: why did the West fail, but also why did the Afghans fail to harness Western expertise and financial means to build up their country. Is there something inherently wrong in the Western relationship with countries such as Afghanistan? How we see them, and how they see us?
About Willem Vogelsang
Willem Vogelsang first went to Afghanistan in 1978 to join British excavations at Kandahar. In 1982 he worked as free-lance reporter among the Mujahedin fighting the communist regime in Kabul and their Soviet backers. After 9/11 he returned to Afghanistan as an officer in the Dutch armed forces and as cultural advisor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Uruzgan (2008-2010). He has published widely on the subject.