Editor’s note: This is the last of a seven-part series examining conditions in Afghanistan in the last year of U.S. military operations there. The series examined each of the country’s regional commands to get a sense of the country, and the war, America is leaving behind. You can find the Series Introduction here, Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here and Part V here.
In 2001, the Taliban were thought to be all but defeated with the fall of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, little more than a month after the U.S. launched its first airstrikes on the country. Since then, money and people have poured into the city, which has seen its population more than double as rural Afghans and returning refugees have moved to the capital for economic opportunities.
But 12 years after the Taliban seemed to disappear from Kabul overnight, they and other insurgent groups have demonstrated the ability to stage regular attacks within the city. The steady pace of suicide bombings in the heavily fortified capital contributes to the perception of the vulnerability of the Kabul-based central government and casts doubt on its ability to provide security in remote provinces.