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  4. 2021: The year of Afghanistan's fall to Taliban | Full timeline of how things unfolded

2021: The year of Afghanistan's fall to Taliban | Full timeline of how things unfolded

Ending 20 years of war in the country, 2021 became the year that Kabul fell into Taliban rule. Here is a detailed timeline of how things went south fast in Afghanistan.

Sri Lasya Written by: Sri Lasya @laasiyapriya
New Delhi Updated on: December 31, 2021 17:49 IST
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Security forces and politicians handed over their provinces and bases without a fight, likely believing the two-decade Western experiment to remake Afghanistan would not survival the resurgent Taliban. 

While India celebrated its Independence day on August 15, one of the neighboring countries witnessed a downfall like never before. An insurgent group took over the capital, and the President fled the country. Soon, evacuation began. Desperate citizens rushed to the borders and the airport to get out of the country alive. Ending 20 years of war in the country, 2021 became the year that Afghanistan's capital Kabul fell into Taliban rule. 

Here is a detailed timeline of how things went south in Afghanistan:

April 14: Newly elected US President Joe Biden inherited a deal struck by the Trump administration. He announced that the US will withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by May 2021. Biden planned a months-long withdrawal that would start in May and be completed by Sept. 11, marking the anniversary of the attacks on the twin towers. 

May 2021: Troops in Afghanistan begin withdrawal. 

July 22: The United States has launched about six airstrikes across Afghanistan in less than a month, part of an effort to support Afghan security forces attempting to hold the Taliban at bay.

August 2: The then President Ashraf Ghani blames the US for its 'abrupt' withdrawal of forces that led to a threat to Afghanistan's security.

August 5: Taliban advance towards the capital.  The insurgent group launched assaults on two major Afghan cities, Kandahar and Herat, shooting rockets at their airports.

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Taliban fighters stand guard in front of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.

August 6: The Taliban seized its first provincial capital Zaranj, of Nimruz province, on the border with Iran.

August 7: The strategic city of Sheberghan, the capital of Jawzjan province in northern Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban after one week of clashes. 

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August 9: Taliban fighters seize most of the capital of northern Afghanistan’s key Kunduz province, and take another neighboring provincial capital after a monthlong siege. 

August 11: President Biden says, “I do not regret my decision.” Taliban capture  Badakhshan in the north, Farah in the west, and Baghlan, some 160 miles from Kabul.

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President Joe Biden speaks about Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House

August 13: Afghanistan's second and third largest cities fall into Taliban power. The group inches close to Kabul. 

August 14: Taliban reaches Kabul outskirts. US authorities troops for evacuation efforts. 

August 15: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flees the country with four cars and a helicopter stuffed with cash. Taliban enters Kabul, capture the entire country. 

Chaos erupts as thousands try to flee the country 

Since August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 114,400 people. Since the end of July, the US has relocated approximately 120,000 people.  India launched operation Dev Shakti to evacuate citizens out of Afghanistan.

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In this photo provided by the French Defense Ministry, French soldiers prepare to board a military Airbus A400M to evacuate French citizens from Afghanistan

Thousands of Afghans rushed into Kabul’s main airport Monday, some so desperate to escape the Taliban that they held onto a military jet as it took off and plunged to their deaths. At least seven people died in the chaos, U.S. officials said, as America’s longest war ended with its enemy the victor. The crowds came while the Taliban enforced their rule over the capital of 5 million people after a lightning advance across the country that took just over a week to dethrone the country’s Western-backed government.

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Hundreds of people run alongside a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane as it moves down a runway of the international airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug.16. 2021. 

Fear and panic prevailed in Afghanistan capital Kabul as people tried to flee following the Taliban's dramatic takeover of the country less than a couple of weeks after the US security forces started to pull out from the country.  A video showed people pushing each other to get into the aircraft to fly out of the country. A sea of people could be seen at the tarmac of the airport. | Read More

Taliban's brutality doesn't end with the formation of a government 

The Taliban have announced an interim government in Afghanistan, declaring the country an "Islamic Emirate" on September 7. Despite promising an inclusive government, the brutality of the insurgent group doesn't end. 

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Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country

On October 30, Amrullah Saleh, former Vice President of Afghanistan, on Saturday claimed that the Taliban had killed at least thirteen people in order to silence music at a wedding party in Nangarhar province. Taking to Twitter, Amrullah Saleh said, "Taliban militiamen have massacred 13 persons to silence music in a wedding party in Nangarhar." In another interview with CNN-News 18, Saleh accused Pakistan of colluding with the Taliban as it took control of Afghanistan following the pull out of international security forces led by the US. 

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This satellite photo from Maxar Technologies shows swarms of people on the tarmac at Kabul International Airport, also known as Hamid Karzai International Airport

The Taliban dissolved Afghanistan's two election commissions as well as the state ministries for peace and parliamentarian affairs Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for Afghanistan's Taliban-run government, said the country's Independent Election Commission and Electoral Complaint Commission have been dissolved.

He called them “unnecessary institutes for the current situation in Afghanistan.” He said if there is a need for the commissions in the future, the Taliban government can revive them.

ALSO READ | Taliban guns down boy attending wedding in Kabul

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