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The Capture of Kunduz

Afghan security forces arrive from Kabul in an attempt to regain Kunduz from Taliban militants.

The Taliban's sudden capture of the northern city of Kunduz on Monday -- the extremist group’s biggest victory since being ousted from power 15 years ago -- sent shock waves throughout the country. Although Afghan forces, with the help of U.S. airstrikes, have quickly reestablished control over most of the city, the question remains -- is Afghanistan once again vulnerable to extremism? And what does the takeover of Kunduz mean for an already fragile Afghanistan?

In this edition of RFE/RLive we discuss these and other questions the attack has raised for Afghanistan, its neighbors, and U.S. engagement in the region.

“The Kunduz attack is a setback that will make reconciliation between Afghanistan and Pakistan even more difficult," said Michael Kugelman, senior program associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

“The turmoil in the north provided an opportunity to fill the vacuum of power in Afghanistan,” said Frud Bezhan, RFE/RL Central Newsroom correspondent covering Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran.

Watch the full discussion below.

Frud Bezhan covers Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran for RFE/RL. He has reported extensively from Kabul, and recently returned from a trip to northern Afghanistan. He is a contributor to The Atlantic and has been published in Defense One.

Michael Kugelman is senior program associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, who has focused most recently on Pakistan's 2013 elections, India-Pakistan relations, U.S.-Pakistan relations, and security challenges in India. His work has been published by numerous major media outlets, including the New York Times, Foreign Policy, Bloomberg View, Politico,, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, Dawn, Express Tribune, Times of India, Indian Express, and Asia Times Online.

Abubakar Siddique covers Afghanistan and Pakistan for RFE/RL, edits RFE/RL’s "Gandhara" website, and is the author of "The Pashtun Question: The Unresolved Key to the Future of Pakistan and Afghanistan." Having spent the past 15 years researching and writing about security, political, humanitarian, and cultural issues in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Siddique regularly shares his analysis with think tanks in London and Washington, D.C., and has published his research in numerous publications.