CRS Report – “Afghanistan: Background and U.S. Policy

CRS Report Afghanistan

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published an updated version of Afghanistan: Background and U.S. Policy. This report is a 21-page PDF that is dated December 4, 2023.

Since the Taliban takeover of the country and government in August 2021 the U.S. Congress has focused on a number of impacts of the Taliban’s renewed rule on U.S. interests.

  • Counterterrorism. The Taliban takeover has had different impacts on the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. As there are no U.S. military forces based in Afghanistan or in neighboring states the U.S. is relying on an over-the-horizon approach to counterterrorism in Afghanistan.
  • Women and Girls. The control of the government and of the entire country by the Taliban has been detrimental for the female population of Afghanistan. Women’s roles in society, education, and the workplace have been drastically curtailed. In April 2023, the Taliban made the decision to ban women from working for the United Nations in Afghanistan.
  • Relocating U.S. Partners. The U.S. government failed in its attempt to evacuate most of the Afghan allies who worked for the U.S. military and other governmental agencies during our 20-year involvement in the Afghan conflict. The chaos of the Kabul NEO and the leaving behind of thousands of combat interpreters and staff workers has garnered the attention of Congress.

Contents of the Report:

  • Introduction
  • Background: Taliban Takeover
  • Taliban Government – Current and potential opposition
  • Regional Dynamics – Pakistan and other neighbors
  • U.S. Policy Impacts of the Taliban’s Return to Power – counterterrorism, Afghan women and girls, and ongoing relocations of U.S. citizens and certain Afghans
  • Economic Contraction and Humanitarian Crisis
  • Congressional Action and Outlook


Afghanistan: Background and U.S. Policy, Congressional Research Center (CRS), December 4, 2023, PDF, 21 pages.