The Taliban—and fear—sweep Afghanistan
In this newsletter, behind Afghanistan’s collapse. Plus, why deadly quakes strike Haiti; a bitter Aztec anniversary; a battle for a Caribbean paradise
This article is an adaptation of our weekly History newsletter that was originally sent out on August 16, 2021. Want this in your inbox? Sign up here.
It had taken more than two months of CIA operations and U.S. airstrikes to help Afghan militias unseat the fundamentalist Islamists who harbored Osama bin Laden as his al Qaeda terrorists plotted the September 11 attacks on the U.S. At the time, the speed of the Taliban’s collapse seemed so swift.
Two decades later, it took a resurgent Taliban two days from overrunning Kandahar and a string of other provincial capitals to complete their triumphant march on the capital, Kabul. After the U.S. confirmed earlier this year it would pull out its last troops before the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban began extending their tentacles across the countryside and inexorably closing in on cities, squeezing out