In early August, I watched the frenzied U.S. exit from Afghanistan from my hotel room in Accra, Ghana. I was not the only one in West Africa transfixed by the events in Kabul. Though Ghana is some 7,000 miles from Afghanistan, the chaotic scenes from the Kabul airport played on a loop in hotel lobbies, government buildings, restaurants and homes, broadcast not only by global networks like Al Jazeera, BBC and CNN, but also by local news channels.
The distressing images playing out on the TV came up repeatedly in my conversations with government officials, scholars and friends in Accra and later in Abuja, Nigeria. People were dismayed to see the throngs of people at the Kabul airport scrambling to make it onto departing planes, as well as those who clung to the wheels and wings of those planes without regard for their own safety. .