As the United States withdrew its remaining troops in 2021, fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces intensified. An Afghan branch of the Islamic State (ISIS) also carried out attacks, including against civilians. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and injured in insurgent attacks, including targeted assassinations of journalists and officials. Indiscriminate government airstrikes added to the civilian toll. Women’s rights advocates have raised concerns about shrinking space for civil society. The Taliban have imposed severe restrictions on women’s rights and free expression in areas they control. The Covid-19 pandemic has overwhelmed Afghanistan’s fragile health system, adding to an ongoing humanitarian crisis.

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