Rival Stories around the Fall of Kabul: How the Taliban Imposed their Narrative of the Afghan War

Through a narrative approach to plural and competing war narratives, this conference will attempt to decipher the most recent and spectacular developments in the Afghan conflict.


August 27, 2021

Start time



All Campus

Knowledge Area

International Relations and Diplomacy

At the end of a brutal armed offensive conducted for many months throughout Afghanistan, the Taliban succeeded, in mid-August 2021, in seizing Kabul, its capital. Beyond its military victory, it is above all the 'war of narratives' that the Sunni fundamentalist movement has just won, resurrecting its version of history, past and present, through arbitrariness and violence. The other parties to the conflict, from the United States to the Afghan government forces, not to mention the civilian population, have nevertheless developed and articulated their own alternative narratives over the past twenty years. How then can we explain the strength with which the Taliban have managed to reimpose their discourse by supplanting the others? Will this discourse, woven with thinly veiled ambitions for political and religious domination, be so performative as to bring down two decades of transition in a deeply wounded country, or is it already laying the groundwork for the resistance to be born? Through the prism of a narrative approach to the competing discourses which have surrounded the recent fall of Kabul, this conference will attempt to put the most recent and dramatic developments in the Afghan conflict into perspective.

About the speaker

Myriam Benraad is a political scientist, specialising in Middle East studies, with a focus on transnational political violence and radical revolutionary movements. She joined Schiller International University's Paris campus in 2021, where she will teach modern diplomacy, and is the author of the new book Terrorisme : les affres de la vengeance. Aux sources liminaires de la violence (Paris, Le Cavalier Bleu).