Updated 1:12 PM ET, Thu August 19, 2021
The Taliban have retaken control of Afghanistan, nearly two decades after they were driven out of the capital by US troops.
Militants entered the presidential palace in Kabul hours after former President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday, August 15. In the week prior, many of Afghanistan’s major cities fell to the insurgent group with little to no resistance.
The Taliban’s resurgence coincides with the withdrawal of US troops, which US President Joe Biden first announced in April. But the rapid fall of Afghanistan’s national forces and government has come as a shock to Biden and senior members of his administration.
On the day after the Taliban’s takeover, hundreds of people poured onto the tarmac at Kabul’s international airport, desperately seeking a route out of Afghanistan. Some were seen hanging to the sides of military aircraft with their bare hands as planes taxied the runway.
Afghans now await reports of what kind of regime they will live under. If Taliban rule is anything like it was in the 1990s, it would mean a deterioration in civil liberties, particularly for women and girls whose freedoms grew under the civilian government.
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