Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban, 20 years after the United States toppled their extremist Islamic regime following the 9/11 terror attacks. Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country Sunday as the Taliban seized the capital city of Kabul, including the presidential palace.

The collapse of the Afghan government came just three months after the U.S. began to withdraw its remaining troops from the country. The two-decade-long U.S. war in Afghanistan killed at least 2,448 U.S. service members, nearly 4,000 U.S. military contractors and some 66,000 members of the Afghan national military and police forces. Many more Afghan security force personnel and civilians have died in recent months in the struggle to defend the country against the Taliban’s insurgency.

That struggle has now failed. Whatever Afghanistan’s future Taliban-run government will look like, it may not be recognized by the world.

As international editor at The Conversation U.S., I’ve been covering Afghanistan since 2016, from the bloody war there to former President Donald Trump’s “peace” accord with the Taliban and, now, its rapid deterioration. To help readers understand what’s likely to unfold next in Afghanistan, I wrote an analysis based on five experts’ articles we published in recent months. It explains who the Taliban are, what they believe – including about women – and what life is like under their rule, with a particular focus on the human suffering likely to unfold there.

In personal news, this will be my last editor’s note for The Conversation, as I will soon be leaving this newsroom for a journalism fellowship. It has been a wonderful five years keeping you informed about the world. Thank you for reading.

Also today:


Catesby Holmes

International Editor | Politics Editor

U.S. personnel were evacuated from the U.S. embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capital, as Taliban insurgents broke through the city’s defensive line, Aug. 15, 2021. AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

Afghan government collapses, Taliban seize control: 5 essential reads

Catesby Holmes, The Conversation

The Taliban ‘expect a complete handover of power.’ Experts explain who the Taliban are, what life is like under their rule and how the U.S. may bear responsibility for Afghanistan’s collapse.

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