Back in April 2021, I argued that a full-scale disaster in the form of a protracted civil war in Afghanistan could still be averted, but it would have required two things from the Taliban.

First, the group had to opt for a reasonable response to the surprise announcement by US President Joe Biden of a complete, unconditional withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan by September 11. At the time, the Taliban viewed this as a breach of the February 2020 Doha Agreement between the group and the US.