RELIGIOUS, PEACE, POVERTY, POWER AND TERRORISM CHALLENGES IN AFGHANISTAN - 2022
President Joe Biden declared in April 2021 that US troops would be out of Afghanistan by September 2021. Despite ongoing peace discussions with the Afghan government, the Taliban increased attacks on Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) camps and outposts, rapidly seizing additional land. The US military has escalated troop withdrawals since May 2021. The US has completed roughly 95 percent of its departure by the end of July 2021, leaving only 650 troops to protect the US embassy in Kabul.
The Taliban maintained their onslaught in the summer of 2021, threatening government-controlled metropolitan areas and seizing many border crossings. The Taliban launched direct attacks on various cities in early August, including Kandahar in the south and Herat in the west. The Taliban took control of the capital of southern Nimruz Province on August 6, 2021, making it the first provincial capital to fall. Following it, provincial capitals began to fall one by one. Within days, the Taliban had taken control of over ten additional cities, including Mazar-i-Sharif in the north and Jalalabad in the east, leaving Kabul as the only major city under government control (Global Conflict Tracker, February, 17, 2022).
Taliban fighters stormed the Afghan capital on August 15, 2021, forcing Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country and the Afghan government to collapse. The Taliban stated later that day that they had invaded the presidential palace, taken control of the city, and were setting up checkpoints to ensure security (Global Conflict Tracker, September, 17, 2021).