ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 19, 2021) – After 20 years of conflict, the United States recently began the final withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, beginning with the evacuation of Bagram Airfield on July 6.

The departure – and the ensuing chaos that has engulfed the Afghan capital Kabul – marks the ignominious end of direct American military involvement in a war that has “taken the lives of nearly 2,500 U.S. servicemen and servicewomen, cost a trillion dollars, and occupied the attention of four presidential administrations,” according to the Afghanistan Study Group.

The fallout of the departure raises numerous questions, including whether Afghanistan will once again become a hotbed of terror-related activities as it was during the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule, the prospects for millions of Afghan women and girls who now face an uncertain future under Taliban leadership, the geopolitical and moral impact on the United States, particularly after the disastrous collapse of the Afghan government and military forces in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal.

The University at Albany has several faculty experts who can discuss the current state of Afghanistan, including the safety and security of U.S. and other foreign workers attempting to flee the country, the prospects for a Taliban-led government in 2021 vs. the Taliban of 2001, as well as the future of Afghanistan and its people following the 20-year failed effort to develop democratic systems of government, bring peace and advance human rights.

UAlbany’s Faculty experts include:

Gary Ackerman, associate professor, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity: Ackerman’s research focuses on understanding how terrorists and other adversaries make tactical, operational and strategic decisions, particularly with regard to innovating in their use of weapons and tactics. As director of the Center for Advanced Red Teaming, Ackerman studies defensive systems and architectures, vulnerabilities, emerging threats and training of response personnel.

Victor Asal, professor of political science and director of the Center for Policy Research: Asal’s research focuses on the choice of violence by nonstate organizational actors as well as the causes of political discrimination by states against different groups such as sexual minorities, women and ethnic groups.

Robert P. Griffin, dean and professor, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity: As a researcher and practitioner of emergency preparedness and management, he has held responsibility for directing fire, rescue, bomb squad, emergency communications and emergency management functions at both county and federal levels. In 2001, he led the Loudoun County Emergency Operations Center’s response to the September 11-attack on the Pentagon, as well as the anthrax attack on the Dulles Postal Facility.

David E. Guinn, public service professor of public administration and policy: Guinn supervised projects in Afghanistan, including the Afghanistan Parliamentary Assistance Project for SUNY (from 2010 to 2013) and a rule of law project with the International Development Law Organization in 2008. He has expertise in and has published on issues of religion and violence, religion and peacebuilding and human rights.

Richard Lachmann, professor of sociology: Lachmann’s research interests include comparative/historical sociology, cultural sociology, economic sociology, political sociology, social networks and development/world systems. Lachmann recently wrote the article, “The Afghanistan Defeat Should Shatter Our Illusions About US Imperial Might,” for Jacobin.

Julie Novkov, interim dean, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, professor and Collins Fellow of political science: As a professor of political science and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, Novkov’s research and teaching are situated at the intersection of law, history, U.S. political development and subordinated identity.


 About the University at Albany:

A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, businesseducation, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare and sociology, taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.