Afghanistan Falls To The Taliban Again As The U.S.-Backed Government Collapses. Following a U.S.-led war that ousted them from power 20 years ago, Taliban fighters stormed Kabul on Sunday, given the lack of opposition from Afghan government forces.

Washington-backed Afghan president departed the nation within hours, and American diplomats were evacuated in haste from the U.S. Embassy.

Afganistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, stated on Facebook that he decided to depart because he wanted to avoid violence. With the words “Long Live Afghanistan,” he bid farewell to his post. The Taliban published a statement stating they had entered the six million-person capital and were trying to restore order.

Mazar-e-Sharif, the final remaining government bastion, fell to the militia on Saturday, and Jalalabad, just east of Kabul on a vital road artery, fell on Sunday.

On Sunday, helicopters circled the U.S. embassy in Kabul, hauntingly evocative of the fall of Saigon in 1975 in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, was quick to deny the Vietnam comparison: “It’s not Saigon here. There was just one objective when we went to Afghanistan 20 years ago, and that mission was to deal with the people who attacked us on September 11, 2001 “

A notice sent by the United States Embassy in Kabul on Sunday warned U.S. citizens to hide in place after reports that Kabul’s airport was “taking fire.” As military evacuations continue, a U.S. army officer told NPR that the airport was blocked to commercial planes.

It was previously announced that 5,000 U.S. soldiers would be sent there to secure the country and assist with American servicemen and women evacuations. A further 1,000 troops will be sent there, according to the Pentagon.

What transpired that day was a dramatic conclusion to America’s longest war, which was triggered after Osama bin Laden refused to surrender to the Taliban after September 11, 2001. Almost immediately after the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., the United States invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban by December.

However, this participation lasted for months, if not years at a time. Costs of War estimates that more than 2,400 Americans have died due to the conflict since the war began, some 3,800 American contractors, more than 1,100 other allied service members, and an estimated 66,000 Afghan military and police, well as more than 47,000 civilian deaths.

At their peak, the Taliban made Afghanistan a rogue state, isolated from the world except for Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates was the only country ready to recognize them at that point. Yet the senior Taliban commanders have been on a frenetic worldwide trip in recent weeks, visiting countries like Russia, Iran, and China.

China and Russia may be becoming more closely aligned because of the Taliban’s efforts to keep Afghanistan stable. A “spillover” of Islamist radicalism concerns both countries.

A combined military drill in China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region allegedly involved 10,000 troops, aircraft, and artillery pieces, despite Beijing and Moscow’s Cold War animus against one other. A statement from Russia’s Minister of Defense said the drill “demonstrated the commitment and capacity of Russia and China to fight terrorism, as well as to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the area.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has actively encouraged Central Asian governments to join the Eurasian Economic Union, while China has spent substantially on infrastructure projects in the area as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. Vasily Kashin, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, says that while they both seek to influence, the Afghan situation is pushing any disputes to the side.

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