Afghanistan: What Just Happened, Why, and What Comes Next

William Burke-White / University of Pennsylvania

The Taliban is consolidating control of Afghanistan, 20 years after U.S.-led forces ousted it from power. The return of the Islamist fundamentalist group has been brewing for years, but its advance accelerated rapidly after the U.S. set an August deadline to pull out troops and began withdrawing air support for the now-fallen Afghan government’s forces. The details and “back story” to how this happened are messy, fascinating, scary—and disputed.

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