UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Kabul: Final Call – in conversation with Sir Laurie Bristow

31 May 2024, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Sir Laurie Bristow

Please join us for this SSEESing event with Sir Laurie Bristow. This in-person event will also be livestreamed online.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to









Masaryk room
UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
16 Taviton street

On 15 August 2021, the world watched in horror as Kabul fell to the Taliban, 20 years after western-backed Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. How did 20 years of trying to build a modern democratic society in Afghanistan come to nothing?

Sir Laurie Bristow – author of Kabul: Final Call: The Inside Story of the Withdrawal from Afghanistan, August 2021 – will talk about what happened in August 2021 and why it matters.

Laurie will talk about the looming collapse of Afghanistan as western military forces pulled out, the political intrigues among the Afghan elite, the indifference of western politicians, and the evacuation from Kabul.

Speaker bio:

Sir Laurie Bristow was the last UK ambassador to Afghanistan during the fall of the Republic to the Taliban in 2021. He was the UK’s ambassador to Russia from 2016 to 2020, and to Azerbaijan from 2004 to 2007. Senior roles in London included Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and Director for National Security.

Laurie has been President of Hughes Hall, Cambridge University, since October 2022.


This event is part of the SSEESing series, and will be chaired by Dr Christian Emery, Associate Professor (Teaching) in International Politics at SSEES.