Afghanistan Earlier than the Fall | Latest News Table

Afghanistan Earlier than the Fall

All of it occurred so quick.

Just some weeks earlier than Taliban militants triumphantly strode into Kabul final month with no combat because the U.S.-backed authorities collapsed, the capital appeared a world away from the extremist group’s extreme view of an Islamic society. Because the weeks glided by, nonetheless, there have been gathering indicators of impending disaster, quickly to be etched within the faces of involved Afghans who in the end determined that they had no alternative however to flee.

Tyler Hicks, a New York Instances photographer, has captured the arc of the Afghanistan battle by means of at the very least 30 assignments because the American-led invasion in 2001 that routed the Taliban. In July he traveled to the western metropolis of Herat, the northern metropolis of Mazar-i-Sharif and the capital of Kabul simply weeks earlier than the cities fell, when the anxiousness a few Taliban takeover was intensifying. Following is his chronicle of these crucial weeks.

A FACADE OF NORMALITY

A photograph of President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul in July. Mr. Ghani fled the nation on Aug. 15, simply earlier than the Taliban entered Kabul.

A relaxed road scene in Kabul, within the weeks earlier than the Taliban would reclaim the capital.

A restaurant on the Qargha reservoir exterior Kabul in July throughout the waning weeks earlier than life would abruptly change.

AMERICA, GONE: AFTERMATH AT BAGRAM

Empty desk stations at Bagram Air Base, deserted by the Individuals and allied forces on July 2. As soon as Afghanistan’s largest air base, it was remodeled right into a ghost city.

The large airfield at Bagram.

Bagram was as soon as a house away from residence for 1000’s of American troops, with many facilities. It even housed fast-food retailers.

PRE-TALIBAN IMAGES, NOW VANISHED

An Afghan nationwide flag flying over Kabul in July. It has since been changed by the white commonplace of the Taliban.

A lady and a woman on a Kabul road in July. Quickly, many ladies would cowl up or keep inside after the Taliban toppled the federal government, petrified of the group’s brutal repression of girls.

Posters of Marshal Muhammad Qasim Fahim, left, and Ahmad Shah Massoud, central figures within the Nineties-era anti-Taliban resistance referred to as the Northern Alliance. This summer time, the group misplaced its stronghold in Mazar-i-Sharif to the Taliban.

ANXIETY DEEPENS: BOARDING BUSES TO LEAVE AFGHANISTAN

Regardless of expectations that it may very well be weeks or months earlier than the Taliban reached Kabul, some Afghan households determined in July to flee the nation by way of bus, fearful that the borders would quickly be closed. Their fears would quickly show to be right.

Because the Taliban seized Afghanistan’s border crossings with Pakistan and different neighboring nations in July, departing by highway grew to become a race towards time.

AS THE TALIBAN NEARED HERAT, PEOPLE FLED EAST TO KABUL

A authorities safety checkpoint within the western metropolis of Herat, simply days earlier than it was seized by the Taliban.

Afghan households in Herat boarded buses to Kabul, believing they’d be safer there from Taliban rule.

A lady passenger in a automotive awaiting safety clearance at a Herat checkpoint. The Taliban would quickly seize the town, Afghanistan’s third-largest.

ON THE NIGHT BUS, HOPING FOR A SAFE OUTCOME

The 480-mile bus trip from Herat to Kabul was preferable at evening, when temperatures had been cooler. Many buses left after 7 p.m., arriving early the following morning.

Individuals in Herat, fearing an imminent Taliban takeover, boarding buses to Kabul simply earlier than the western metropolis fell on Aug. 13.

On an evening bus from Herat to Kabul.

AN ANTI-TALIBAN REDOUBT IN THE FINAL WEEKS OF RESISTANCE

Militia fighters within the northern metropolis of Mazar-i-Sharif, as soon as considered a bastion of anti-Taliban resistance, acquired orders for defending the town.

Members of an anti-Taliban militia in Mazar-i-Sharif, a month earlier than the Taliban would overrun their defensive positions and seize the town.

After the Taliban broke by means of in Mazar-i-Sharif, authorities safety forces and militias fled — together with these led by the notorious warlords Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Muhammad Noor — successfully handing management to the Taliban.

NEAR UZBEKISTAN, THE LAST OPEN LAND EXIT BEFORE THE TAKEOVER

Rocks within the highway mark a checkpoint close to the border with Uzbekistan, north of Mazar-i-Sharif, manned by poorly outfitted Afghan militia fighters.

A militia outpost close to the Uzbek border, constructed with blast-resistant Hesco limitations provided by the U.S. navy. Named after the corporate that developed them, Hesco limitations are stuffed with rocks and grime and are seen all through Afghanistan.

One other view of the militia’s border outpost. Weeks later the Taliban would seize it.

WITHIN WEEKS, A BRIDGE TOO FAR

The Afghan facet of the border with Uzbekistan. The Friendship Bridge, utilized by the retreating Soviet military in 1989, was among the many final government-held land crossings to fall to the Taliban.

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