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One month after the Taliban's takeover, here's what's happened in Afghanistan

The Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15. With control of the capital, the Islamist militant group completed their takeover of Afghanistan in a swift offensive that saw provinces and warlords surrender without resistance.

The siege began two weeks before the date set by the US to complete its troop withdrawal following a two-decade war. It's been one month since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. Everything that has occurred in the country since then is listed below.

Kabul's fall

Despite hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO to strengthen the Afghan security forces, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in less than a week.

On August 15, the insurgents entered Kabul's outskirts but remained outside the city's central business district. According to the Associated Press, employees fled government offices at the time, and smoke rose above the city as embassy staff was seen burning vital documents.

While Taliban fighters remained on the periphery, reports of Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani's departure added to the panic.

Later in a statement, Ghani stated that he fled to avert further bloodshed. “The Taliban have triumphed through the judgment of their swords and guns, and are now accountable for their countrymen's honor, property, and self-preservation,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

Al Jazeera broadcasted images of Taliban fighters entering Afghanistan's presidential palace within hours. The group's leadership addressed the media from the country's seat of power, surrounded by dozens of armed fighters, signaling an official takeover.

Visuals from the airport

While Taliban fighters maneuvered through the lush Presidential palace's corridors, thousands of Afghans desperate to flee the country flooded Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Fearful that the Taliban would reintroduce the type of brutal rule that effectively eliminated women's rights, several Afghans queued up at cash machines to withdraw their life savings.

Many were seen clinging to a US military transport plane as it taxied down the runway, in images that stunned the world. Another video posted to social media showed several people falling through the air as the plane gained altitude over the city. Seven Afghan civilians were killed during the airport's chaos.

Though the Taliban promised a peaceful transition, the US Embassy suspended operations and advised Americans to shelter in place and avoid attempting to reach the airport late in the day.

Many people were taken aback as helicopters landed in the compound of the US Embassy to transport diplomats to a new outpost at the airport. The US has refuted comparisons to the US withdrawal from Vietnam. In terms of international response, the majority of countries stated that their primary priority was evacuating citizens trapped in war-torn countries.

On August 17, US Vice President Joe Biden broke his silence and stated that he stands by his withdrawal decision. In a nearly 15-minute speech, Biden stated, "I am the President of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me."

Two days later, at least 95 Afghans and 13 US troops were killed in a twin suicide bomb attack outside Kabul's airport. Later, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the assassinations.

Around 1,24,000 foreigners and at-risk Afghans were eventually evacuated by US-led foreign forces, but tens of thousands remained behind.

Protests against the Taliban

While thousands of Afghans attempted to flee Taliban rule, videos of a small group of women holding placards and demanding equal rights on the streets of Kabul emerged on social media. This was, according to reports, the first such agitation since the militant group seized control of the country.

Additional protests took place across Afghanistan's cities on the occasion of the country's Independence Day. Around 200 people gathered in the city for one demonstration before the Taliban violently dispersed them.

It was also further evidence that, while tens of thousands of people are now fleeing, many more remain and are determined to have a voice in the country in which they live,” a New York Times report on the protest noted.

Meanwhile, in the Panjshir Valley, away from Kabul, an anti-Taliban guerrilla movement began to form under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was a key figure in Afghanistan's anti-Soviet resistance during the 1980s and was assassinated in 2001 at the behest of the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The region, 150 kilometers northeast of Kabul, was home to several senior members of the deposed government, including deposed Vice President Amrullah Saleh and former Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi. Saleh has declared himself caretaker president following the departure of ousted President Ashraf Ghani.

“I will never, ever, and under no circumstances submit to the terrorists of the Taliban. I will never betray the soul or legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Masoud, commander, legend, and guide,” Saleh wrote on Twitter.

The Panjshir Valley has played a decisive role in Afghanistan's military history on numerous occasions, owing to its geographical isolation from the rest of the country. However, the Taliban have claimed victory over Panjshir in recent days.

Taliban's new government

On September 7, the Taliban appointed Mullah Hasan Akhund, a close associate of the movement's late founder Mullah Omar, as head of Afghanistan's new government on Tuesday, with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the movement's political office, serving as deputy.

Sarajuddin Haqqani, the son of the founder of the Haqqani network, which the United States has designated a terrorist organization, has been appointed as the new interior minister.

In some ways, the new government in Kabul resembled the one in Tehran in terms of structure. Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban's top religious leader, was named Afghanistan's supreme authority, despite the fact that he is not a member of the government.

According to a statement issued following the cabinet appointments, Akhundzada directed the new government to adhere to Islamic principles and Sharia law in Afghanistan. Akhundzada also urged those in power to safeguard the country's highest interests and to ensure "permanent peace, prosperity, and development" in the English-language statement.

In terms of education, the all-male interim government issued a set of guidelines for female students to follow. Women are expected to adhere to a strict dress code consistent with the Taliban's interpretation of Islam and to attend classes separately from male students. Additionally, the government has recommended that separate entrances for males and females be created.

Economic difficulties

Since their takeover, the Taliban have faced formidable challenges in attempting to transform their lightning military victory into a stable peacetime government.

According to Reuters, despite decades of war and tens of thousands of deaths, security has improved significantly, but Afghanistan's economy is in ruins despite hundreds of billions of dollars in development spending over the last two decades.

The Kabul airport, which was subjected to chaos in August, is said to be operating normally with the assistance of Qatari officials. Last week, Kabul's airport welcomed its first international commercial flight.

However, similar to August, long queues continue to form outside banks, where weekly withdrawal limits of 20,000 afghanis (approximately $200) have been imposed to safeguard the country's diminishing reserves.

There are reports that impromptu markets where people sell household goods for cash have sprung up across the capital. However, buyers continue to be scarce. “Thefts have ceased to exist. However, bread has vanished,” one shopkeeper told Reuters.

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