August 17, 2021
On Sunday morning, the Taliban entered Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, effectively taking control of the country after the government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled. The capture of Kabul marks the last stage of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, following a week of chaos during which the militant group swept the country, seizing major provincial capitals as thousands of citizens fled.
The fall of Afghanistan to Taliban rule comes two decades after the U.S. ousted the Taliban from power after 9/11. In the intervening years, the U.S. poured billions of dollars to strengthen Afghani defense forces. For years, the U.S. sought an exit. In February 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed a deal with the Taliban to limit direct military action against insurgents, which allowed the Taliban to seize key areas. Earlier this year, president Joe Biden announced plans to withdraw all U.S. troops by the end of this month.
But, of course, the history of Afghanistan and its geopolitics stretches further back.
As we work to center Afghan voices and commission pieces with their words, you can revisit the below stories from our archives.