The world has been watching as a major humanitarian crisis unfolds in the war-torn country of Afghanistan.
Prompted by US President Joe Biden's decision to pull US troops from Afghan soil, Taliban terrorists took over the country swiftly with little to no resistance and returned to power.
What was left behind was a hapless people unsure of where their futures lie and scared of what comes next with the Taliban regime, known for its extremities.
In what will perhaps remain a defining image of the tragedy that befell Afghanistan, photos and video footage showed hundreds of Afghan nationals streaming into Kabul and thronging around the Kabul airport, in a bid to escape the country. But with no way out, some of them were seen desperately clinging onto flights with no hope of ever fleeing.
And amid this reign of chaos and fear, Taliban insurgents have been taking control of province after province in the past week, until they finally marched into the capital Kabul – the last major seat of the Afghan government – and claimed victory.
Barely hours after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, the Taliban also seized the presidential palace, and brandishing guns, they declared that the "war is over."
Indeed, the 'war on terror' that had started 20 years back with the US sending its troops to the country to topple the Taliban regime, ended in the same way that it had started – with Taliban rule.
And, just like that, in a matter of a few months, Afghanistan's political and social future went through what can only be described as a tectonic shift.
But how did Taliban insurgency withstand 20 years of military offensive led by Western allies and capture Afghanistan once again? Is the decision to withdraw US troops going to define Biden's legacy? What is the fate of the people and women in Afghanistan, especially those trying to escape the Taliban rule?
Over the new few episodes of our daily news podcasts, we will try to unravel the nuances of what led to the fall of Afghanistan and the many implications of this political catastrophe.
In this episode, we will look at what happened in the last 20 years that ultimately led to the Taliban marking the end of the US Army-era in the country.
Did the US lose the narrative of the battle against the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces? Was it really invested in the peace process? And how did the Afghan forces fall to the Taliban so quickly?
Our guests for today's episode are Kriti Shah, Associate Fellow in the Department of Strategic Studies at the Observer Research Foundation and Anil Trigunayat, former Indian envoy to Jordan, Libya and Malta. Tune in!