Afghanistan Falls to Taliban: What We Know and What's Next

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The Taliban person seized powerfulness successful Afghanistan 2 weeks earlier the U.S. was acceptable to implicit its unit withdrawal aft a costly two-decade war.

The insurgents stormed crossed the country, capturing each large cities successful a substance of days, arsenic Afghan information forces trained and equipped by the U.S. and its allies melted away.

Here's a look astatine what happened and what comes next:

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN AFGHANISTAN?

The Taliban, a militant radical that ran the state successful the precocious 1990s, person again taken control.

The U.S.-led penetration of Afghanistan successful 2001 ousted the insurgents from power, but they ne'er left. After they blitzed crossed the state successful caller days, the Western-backed authorities that has tally the state for 20 years collapsed. Afghans, fearing for the future, are racing to the airport, 1 of the past routes retired of the country.

WHY ARE PEOPLE FLEEING THE COUNTRY?

They're disquieted that the state could descend into chaos oregon the Taliban could transportation retired revenge attacks against those who worked with the Americans oregon the government.

Many besides fearfulness the Taliban volition reimpose the harsh mentation of Islamic instrumentality that they relied erstwhile they ran Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Back then, women were barred from attending schoolhouse oregon moving extracurricular the home. They had to deterioration the all-encompassing burqa and beryllium accompanied by a antheral comparative whenever they went outside. The Taliban banned music, chopped disconnected the hands of thieves and stoned adulterers.

The Taliban person sought to contiguous themselves arsenic a much mean unit successful caller years and accidental they won't nonstop revenge, but galore Afghans are skeptical of those promises.

As the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, translators could beryllium successful danger, says Matt Zeller of No One Left Behind. Zeller says helium is lone live contiguous due to the fact that an interpreter saved his beingness successful combat. Now he's speaking up for different interpreters and urging President Biden and Congress to enactment swiftly to bring Afghan interpreters to Guam, wherever they tin beryllium harmless from the Taliban.

WHY ARE THE TALIBAN TAKING OVER NOW?

Probably due to the fact that U.S. troops are acceptable to retreat by the extremity of the month.

The U.S. has been trying to get retired of Afghanistan, its longest war, for respective years now.

American troops ousted the Taliban successful a substance of months erstwhile they invaded to basal retired al-Qaida, which orchestrated the 9/11 attacks portion being harbored by the Taliban. But it proved much hard to clasp territory and rebuild a federation battered by repeated wars.

As the U.S. absorption shifted to Iraq, the Taliban began to regroup and successful caller years took implicit overmuch of the Afghan countryside.

Last year, then-President Donald Trump announced a program to propulsion retired and signed a woody with the Taliban that constricted U.S. subject enactment against them. President Joe Biden past announced that the past troops would permission by the extremity of August.

As the last deadline drew close, the Taliban began a lightning offensive, overrunning metropolis aft city.

WHY DID THE AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES COLLAPSE?

The abbreviated answer? Corruption.

The U.S. and its NATO allies spent billions of dollars implicit 2 decades to bid and equip Afghan information forces. But the Western-backed authorities was rife with corruption. Commanders exaggerated the fig of soldiers to siphon disconnected resources, and troops successful the tract often lacked ammunition, supplies oregon adjacent food.

Their morale further eroded erstwhile it became wide the U.S. was connected its mode out. As the Taliban rapidly precocious successful caller days full units surrendered aft little battles, and Kabul and immoderate adjacent provinces fell without a fight.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN?

He fled.

President Ashraf Ghani hunkered down and made fewer nationalist statements arsenic the Taliban swept crossed the country. On Sunday, arsenic they reached the capital, helium near Afghanistan, saying helium had chosen to permission to debar further bloodshed. It's not wide wherever helium went.

WHY ARE PEOPLE COMPARING AFGHANISTAN TO THE FALL OF SAIGON?

The Fall of Saigon to North Vietnamese forces successful 1975 marked the extremity of the Vietnam War. It became an enduring awesome of decision aft thousands of Americans and their Vietnamese allies were airlifted retired of the metropolis connected helicopters. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has rejected immoderate comparisons to Afghanistan, saying: “This is manifestly not Saigon.”

Wakil Kohsar | AFP | Getty Images

Afghan radical ascent atop a level arsenic they hold astatine the Kabul airdrome successful Kabul connected August 16, 2021, aft a stunningly swift extremity to Afghanistan's 20-year war, arsenic thousands of radical mobbed the city's airdrome trying to fly the group's feared hardline marque of Islamist rule.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT IN AFGHANISTAN?

It's not clear.

The Taliban accidental they privation to signifier an “inclusive, Islamic government” with different factions. They are holding negotiations with elder politicians, including leaders successful the erstwhile government.

They person pledged to enforce Islamic instrumentality but accidental they volition supply a unafraid situation for the instrumentality of mean beingness aft decades of war.

But galore Afghans distrust the Taliban and fearfulness that their regularisation volition beryllium convulsive and oppressive. One motion that worries radical is that they privation to rename the state the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which is what they called it the past clip they ruled.

More Afghanistan Withdrawal Coverage

WHAT DOES THE TALIBAN TAKEOVER MEAN FOR WOMEN?

Many fearfulness it could mean a terrible rollback of rights.

Afghan women person made large gains since the overthrow of the Taliban. Many are disquieted they volition erstwhile again beryllium confined to their homes. The Taliban person said they are nary longer opposed to women attending schoolhouse but person not acceptable retired a wide argumentation connected women's rights. Afghanistan remains an overwhelmingly blimpish country, particularly extracurricular large cities, and the presumption of women often varied, adjacent nether Taliban rule.

WILL THE TALIBAN ONCE AGAIN HARBOR AL-QAIDA?

That's anyone's guess, but American subject officials are worried.

In the bid woody signed with the United States past year, the Taliban pledged to combat coercion and forestall Afghanistan from again becoming a basal for attacks. But the U.S. has small leverage to enforce that.

Technological advances implicit the past 20 years let the United States to people suspected militants successful countries similar Yemen and Somalia wherever it does not person a imperishable unit presence. The Taliban paid a dense terms for their relation successful the Sept. 11 attacks and apt anticipation to debar a repetition arsenic they question to consolidate their rule.

But earlier this year, the Pentagon’s apical leaders said an extremist radical similar al-Qaida whitethorn beryllium capable to regenerate successful Afghanistan, and officials are present informing that specified groups could turn overmuch faster than expected.

Afghanistan is besides location to an Islamic State radical affiliate that has carried retired a question of horrific attacks targeting its Shiite number successful caller years. The Taliban person condemned specified attacks and the 2 groups person fought each different implicit territory, but it remains to beryllium seen whether a Taliban authorities volition beryllium consenting oregon capable to suppress IS.

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