Taliban take over Afghanistan: What we know and what comes next

As the Taliban sweeps across Afghanistan, now that the U.S. is completing its troop withdrawal, several questions remain as to what happens there and around the globe for the U.S. and its Mid-East allies.

By

World News

August 16, 2021 - 9:26 AM

Pedestrians and motorists ended up in a traffic grid lock as the Afghans rush to safety with the uncertainty and rumor swirling that Taliban enter Kabul and take over the city and country. Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times / TNS

The Taliban have seized power in Afghanistan two weeks before the U.S. was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.

The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the U.S. and its allies melted away.

Here’s a look at what happened and what comes next:

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN AFGHANISTAN?

The Taliban, a militant group that ran the country in the late 1990s, have again taken control. 

The U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 ousted the insurgents from power, but they never left. After they blitzed across the country in recent days, the Western-backed government that has run the country for 20 years collapsed. Afghans, fearing for the future, are racing to the airport, one of the last routes out of the country.

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WHY ARE PEOPLE FLEEING THE COUNTRY?

They’re worried that the country could descend into chaos or the Taliban could carry out revenge attacks against those who worked with the Americans or the government. 

Many also fear the Taliban will reimpose the harsh interpretation of Islamic lawthat they relied when they ran Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Back then, women were barred from attending school or working outside the home. They had to wear the all-encompassing burqa and be accompanied by a male relative whenever they went outside. The Taliban banned music, cut off the hands of thieves and stoned adulterers.

The Taliban have sought to present themselves as a more moderate force in recent years and say they won’t exact revenge, but many Afghans are skeptical of those promises. 

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WHY ARE THE TALIBAN TAKING OVER NOW?

Probably because U.S. troops are set to withdraw by the end of the month.

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

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