Who is the leader of the Taliban right now?

Who is the leader of the Taliban right now?

New leader of the Taliban is
Source: BBC News

How the Taliban took over Afghanistan

Back in April, President Biden announced he was pulling US troops out of Afghanistan, in line with the deal that Trump struck last year. Other NATO countries, like the UK, said they'd follow. In May, troops had already started pulling out, and by July, the Americans abandoned Bagram airbase — their main hub for military operations. They packed up in the middle of the night without telling their Afghan counterparts, who were left behind to run the place. At that point, the Taliban accelerated their offensive. In some places, Afghan security forces put up a fight but elsewhere they just crumbled. And remember, these were the forces that the US-trained and equipped to the tune of $80 billion. And they outnumbered Taliban fighters four to one. 

On August 6, the Taliban took their first provincial capital. After that, the other capitals fell like dominoes. Places like Kunduz, Ghazni and Lashkar Gah. Within a week, the Taliban had taken Afghanistan's second and third-biggest cities, Kandahar and Herat. Then they kept moving towards the capital. Once they took the city of Jalalabad on August 15, they basically surrounded Kabul.  That evening those Taliban fighters were inside the presidential palace. It capped off a crazy day when things were changing by the hour.  

The US military scrambled to evacuate staff from the American embassy. By the afternoon, President Ashraf Ghani had left the country. And then there was a mad rush for flights out. The situation got even more chaotic the next day. Commercial flights were suspended and we saw desperate scenes like this. And then at least one man appearing to fall to his death. For most Afghans, leaving isn't an option. They're stuck wondering what life will be like under the Taliban a second time around. 

2001 Invasion of US

Before the US invasion in 2001, the Taliban were in power for five years and imposed their brutal interpretation of Islamic law. Music was forbidden, girls were banned from going to school, men and women were stoned to death for adultery. Is this where Afghanistan has headed again? Well, a Taliban spokesman offered reassurances. He said the group is committed to a peaceful transfer of power, that it would offer amnesty to government officials and that women's rights would be respected.  But can they be trusted? Many Afghans are skeptical.  And that life just got really tough. Food prices are through the roof, people are struggling to get hold of basic supplies and people can't get their money out of banks. 

There are also thousands of Afghans who fled as the Taliban swept through the country. Many have ended up in makeshift camps in Kabul, adding to the 400,000 Afghans who were forced to leave their homes since the beginning of the year. What's going to happen to all of them? People are still trying to make sense of what happened, and the blame game has ramped up, including from the White House. 

Doha Agreement (2020)

The focus is now on what the new Taliban government will look like.  International negotiators in Doha are trying to answer some of those questions and salvage something from years of peace talks. They're encouraging the Taliban to set up a government that in some way represents different parts of Afghan society. And the Taliban may be open to that as a way to secure a semblance of international legitimacy. But at the same time, their fighters are in the presidential palace and patrolling the streets — armed to the teeth. So it's absolutely clear who's calling the shots. 

If you've got ideas for topics you think we should explain let us know in the comments. 

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