The United States spent 20 years and more than $2 trillion and sacrificed the lives of 2,448 service members to oust the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and keep them from regaining control – but by Monday morning, those two decades of work had swiftly come undone.
The purportedly successful long-term effort to provide Afghan security forces with the training and tools necessary to protect their country — without U.S. aid — was shown to be a mirage, as the nation's army melted in the face of the Taliban's summer blitz that seized control of province after province before advancing on Kabul. Though the U.S. intelligence community predicted earlier this month that the Afghan capital could fall in as little as three months, Taliban militants took it in mere days, prompting a frantic and chaotic scramble by U.S. citizens to exit the city.
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