NewsKey events since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan a...

Key events since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan a year ago

The Taliban returned to power a year ago when US-led forces withdrew from the country, two decades after first toppling the regime.

After its lightning offensive, which started from the southern province of Kandahar, the armed group made a surprising return to power on August 15 last year.

These are the key events of the last 12 months:

The Taliban take Kabul

As the United States and its allies begin to withdraw their forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban launch a final offensive to regain control of the country they ruled from 1996 to 2001.

In August, the group ramps up its campaign, taking over a series of cities in a 10-day blitz across the country that culminates in the fall of the capital, Kabul, on August 15, 2021.

President Ashraf Ghani flees to Abu Dhabi and admits that “the Taliban have won.”

Thousands of terrified Afghans and foreigners rush to Kabul airport in a frantic race to board the last flights out of the country.

Washington freezes some $7 billion in Afghan reserves in US banks and donors suspend or drastically reduce their aid to the country.

United States completes chaotic exit

Chaos reigns at the airport, where several people were crushed to death trying to reach the tarmac as the United States and its allies hastily evacuated its citizens and Afghan citizens who aided the outgoing government.

On August 26, a man known as a “suicide bomber” forces his way through the crowd, killing more than 100 people, including 13 US service members.

The Isis chapter in Afghanistan and Pakistan, rivals of the Taliban, claim responsibility for the attack.

Four days later, the Taliban celebrate the departure of the last US forces and their allies on August 30.

The religious police return

Despite the Taliban’s claim to have put an end to its repressive ways, the signs are unfavorable. A new interim government is presented in September, with hardliners in all key positions and no women.

The Taliban also take back the feared Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, enforcing the group’s austere interpretation of Islam.

The actions provoke protests in Kabul and Herat, where two people are shot dead.

Isis attacks mosques

In October, blasts ripped through a Shiite mosque in Kandahar as prayers were taking place, killing 60 people in the deadliest attack since the departure of US troops.

The attack, claimed by Afghanistan’s Isis chapter, comes a week after a suicide attack on another Shi’ite mosque in the northern city of Kunduz that killed dozens of people.

Oslo hosts talks with Taliban

Deprived of aid, Afghanistan is mired in a deep economic and humanitarian crisis.

Norway invites the Taliban to hold talks with members of Afghan civil society and Western diplomats in Oslo.

An all-male Taliban delegation travels to the meeting, during which officials from the United States and Europe are exploring the possibility of providing aid directly to the Afghan people.

Girls excluded from school

In March, Taliban authorities prevent high school girls from returning to classes, hours after schools reopen. They also mandate that government employees must grow beards.

Women ordered to cover up

In May, women and girls are ordered to wear hijabs and face coverings in public, and religious police say they prefer women to stay home.

TV presenters are among the targets of the move, sparking an international outcry.

Women are also prohibited from taking long-distance trips alone and are only allowed to visit public parks in the capital on days when men are not allowed.

massive earthquake

More than 1,000 people are killed and thousands are left homeless when an earthquake hits Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan on June 22.

The disaster poses a huge logistical challenge for the Taliban government, which has not been formally recognized by any country.

International aid agencies come to the rescue, sending food, tents and medical supplies.

Al Qaeda chief killed in US drone attack

On August 2 of this year, President Joe Biden announces the assassination of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, suspected mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, in a drone attack on his hideout. from Kabul.

The Taliban condemn the attack but do not confirm al-Zawahiri’s death, saying they were investigating the US claim.

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