In August, Taliban forces rapidly took control of virtually all of Afghanistan following the United States military withdrawal. Chaos and violence impeded the evacuation of at-risk Afghans at Kabul’s airport. Advancing Taliban forces in several provinces summarily executed some officials and security force personnel. After the takeover, the Taliban conducted raids on the homes of former government officials, along with journalists and civil society members. Taliban authorities increasingly restricted women’s rights and media freedoms, as they have in areas previously controlled.

The past year’s fighting resulted in a record number of civilian casualties, including from targeted Taliban and Islamic State attacks and government airstrikes. Conflict and drought have caused the number of internally displaced people to soar, overwhelming Afghanistan’s fragile humanitarian aid system. The healthcare system is unable to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.