The night had crept into MysticLand. And with it, sleep. The Mysticals were all in their beds. The dorm room was silent, barring the sounds of them gently breathing. This serene moment was about to be broken. Verum’s crystal ball had found some urgent and important news from Afghanistan. It made a sound loud enough for Verum to wake up.

When Verum understood the news, she called out to her friends, “Mysticals, Mysticals! The Taliban has gained control over Afghanistan!”

Orak woke up with a start. He wondered if he had dreamt the sad news. But when he rubbed his eyes and looked at Verum’s tense face, he knew it was true. He said, “What happened? Don’t spare any detail.”

“The Taliban is an extremist group that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. That is, the Taliban has extreme views about society. For instance, under Taliban rule, women weren’t allowed to pursue education or hold jobs,” explained Verum.

“Why did the United States (US) get involved?” said Orak.

“A militant group called Al Qaeda carried out the devastating 9/11 attacks on the US. The group had extremely strong and negative beliefs regarding the US. So, they used aggressive and harmful methods to fight for these beliefs,” replied Verum.

“In the process, many people lost their lives. The Taliban protected Al Qaeda’s leader. When the US found out, it invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban from power. For this, US troops and their allies were sent to Afghanistan,” continued Verum, “But this year, US President Joe Biden began withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan after an expensive 20-year-long war. As the troops started leaving Afghanistan, the Taliban gained more and more territory.”

“That is not good,” said a grim Felix.

Verum took a breath in and continued, “While the Taliban had been clashing with the Afghan National Army for several weeks, it made rapid progress in the past 10 days. Soon, it controlled all the major cities in the war-torn country like Herat, Kandahar, and Mazar-i-Sharif.”

“What happened then?” said a worried Scorch.

“On Sunday, the Taliban reached Kabul, the capital city. President Ashraf Ghani handed over the capital to the Taliban and reportedly fled either to Tajikistan or Oman,” said Verum, “As the Taliban approached, the US evacuated its diplomats through a chopper. Many desperate Afghans, too, tried to flee the country in a plane. Not many succeeded.”

“Oh, no,” exclaimed Felix.

“Now, the Taliban has shut the airport. They set up an interim (temporary) government, completing Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan,” said Verum.