Taliban sweep into Kabul after Afghan government collapses

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Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. exodus / ˈɛk sə dəs / (n.) – a situation where a large number of people leave a particular place or situation at the same time

    Have you heard about the California exodus? A lot of people are leaving the state and moving to places with lower living costs.

  2. fan out / fæn aʊt / (phrasal v.) – to move in different directions from one starting point

    The protestors fanned out when the police officers arrived, making it harder to control them.

  3. in the wake of (something) / ɪn ðə weɪk əv / (idiom) – happening after or as a result of a particular event

    Several businesses upgraded their cybersecurity measures in the wake of recent hacking attacks.

  4. orchestrate / ˈɔr kəˌstreɪt / (v.) – to organize and arrange a complicated plan

    The crime was orchestrated by a group of college students.

  5. reimpose / ˌri ɪmˈpəʊz / (v.) – to make previous laws, rules, etc. active again

    Some quarantine protocols were reimposed due to the increasing cases of Covid-19.


Read the text below.

The Taliban swept into Afghanistan’s capital Aug. 15 after the government collapsed and the embattled president joined an exodus of his fellow citizens and foreigners, signaling the end of a costly two-decade U.S. campaign to remake the country.

Heavily armed Taliban fighters fanned out across Kabul, and several entered its abandoned presidential palace. Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman and negotiator, said that the militants would hold talks in the coming days aimed at forming an “open, inclusive Islamic government.”

Earlier, a Taliban official said the group would announce from the palace the restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the formal name of the country under Taliban rule before the militants were ousted by U.S.-led forces in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which were orchestrated by al Qaida while it was being sheltered by the Taliban. But that plan appeared to be on hold.

Kabul was gripped by panic. Helicopters raced overhead throughout the day to evacuate personnel from the U.S. Embassy.

Fearful that the Taliban could reimpose a brutal rule that all but eliminated women’s rights, Afghans rushed to leave the country, lining up at cash machines to withdraw their life savings. (AP)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The US had a costly two-decade campaign to remake Afghanistan. Do you think it was the responsibility of the US to remake the country after its 2001 invasion? Why do you think the US stayed in Afghanistan for so long? Discuss.
  • The US admitted that Afghanistan’s government collapsed much faster than expected. Were you surprised by how fast the Taliban was able to regain control of the country? Why do you think they were able to do it so quickly (ex. people were too afraid to fight them, the US completely underestimated their strength)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • A Taliban spokesman said that they wanted to form an “open, inclusive Islamic government,” but many people are afraid that the Taliban will reimpose a brutal rule that all but eliminated women’s rights. What do you think will happen? If you were an Afghan citizen, how worried would you be? Why? Discuss.
  • The Afghan president joined an exodus of his fellow citizens after the collapse of his government. Do you think he should have stayed in the country, or was he right to leave it? Why? Discuss.