After 20 years, US forces are leaving Afghanistan. But Afghans were fighting before the Americans came, and there is a worry they will be fighting after US troops have gone.
Former US President Donald Trump ordered his envoy to do a deal with the Taliban - in return for agreeing to stop hosting Al-Qaeda, 5,000 Taliban prisoners were released, and the US agreed a departure date of 1 May. Under President Biden, the departure deadline has slipped to 11 September, a symbolic date. The Taliban scent victory, as they are in a strong military position, with the Afghan government side lined by its main sponsors and the infidels are rushing for the exit.
If the Taliban were to retake the cities, they would likely force women back into their homes, close girls' schools and impose their brutal Islamist rule. Afghans are praying for a peace agreement, which would allow the Talibs to take part in Afghan politics without forcing their extreme form of Islam on the entire country. But senior Afghan officials are pessimistic that the Taliban will negotiate seriously with the government until they have gained more territory. Their best hope is that Pakistan, the main backer of the Taliban, will respond to western pressure and persuade the Talibs to reach a deal with the Afghan government.
America may think what they call a "forever war" is coming to an end. But, with a bloody and brutal few months expected that's not how it looks from Afghanistan.