‘Surrendered like sheep’: Why even Taliban were surprised at speed of Afghan takeover

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It took just a few days for the Taliban to sweep across Afghanistan and seize territory they did not already control, sometimes taking major provincial capitals with barely a shot in anger. While much has been made of the Afghan army’s military collapse, interviews with Taliban leaders, Afghan politicians, diplomats and other observers suggest the Islamist militant movement laid the groundwork for its victory long before the events of the last week or so.