Life under the Taliban

21 June 2018


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Taliban governance is more coherent than ever before for the tens of millions of Afghans living under its rule. Their control and influence over finance, education, health, justice, taxation and everyday life extends far beyond areas the Taliban is said to control or contest. The provision of public goods, together with systemised violence and coercion, garner a combination of support, complicity and fear.

The scale and extent of Taliban governance is a reality with which few in the international community are willing to engage. This has enabled the Taliban to set the rules and parameters of negotiation.

To better support Afghans living under Taliban control, the question for the international community must shift from whether to engage to how. Drawing from ODI’s new research, based on first-hand interviews with over 160 Taliban fighters, officials and civilians, this expert panel discusses:

  • What is the current reality for Afghan’s living under Taliban rule?
  • How are Afghan civilians and aid workers navigating these complex realities?
  • What lessons can be drawn from past negotiations with the Taliban to inform and shape the international community’s future engagement?




Mark Bowden Former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) & Senior Research Associate, ODI

Francesc Vendrell - Adjunct Professor of International Relations, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Ashley Jackson - Research Associate, ODI

More speakers to be announced


 Photo: Andrew Quitty