Afghanistan’s arc from 9/11 to today: Once hopeful, now sad

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FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2021, file photo, provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, families walk towards their flight during ongoing evacuations at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan. A school district in a San Diego suburb that is home to a large refugee population says many of its families who had taken summer trips to Afghanistan to see their relatives have gotten stuck there with the chaos following the withdrawal of U.S. troops. (Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/U.S. Marine Corps via AP, File)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — It has been 20 years since Taliban-led Afghanistan fell to a U.S.-led coalition in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks.

For Afghans, that means 20 years of change. That’s an arc that ran from early hope to despair in recent weeks as the U.S. pullout led to the 2021 edition of the Taliban toppling the government in short order.

The story of those two decades in Afghanistan reflects in many ways the story of the post-9/11 world.

And today, Afghans are grappling with the same questions they faced all those years ago: What’s next, and will the violence and fear continue?

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