The Taliban were removed from power in Afghanistan by US-led forces in 2001, but the group has seized control of the country once again following a rapid offensive. The capital, Kabul, was the last major city to fall to the offensive that began months ago but accelerated as the hardline Islamists gained control of territories. The group entered direct talks with the US back in 2018, and in February 2020 the two sides struck a peace deal that committed the US to withdrawal and the Taliban to preventing attacks on US forces. Other promises included not allowing al-Qaeda or other militants to operate in areas it controlled and proceeding with national peace talks. The promise made by the Taliban - in Pashtun areas straddling Pakistan and Afghanistan - was to restore peace and security and enforce their own austere version of Sharia, or Islamic law, once in power. Having outlasted a superpower through two decades of war, the Taliban began seizing vast swathes of territory, before once again toppling a government in Kabul in the wake of a foreign power withdrawing. They swept across Afghanistan in just 10 days, taking their first provincial capital on 6 August . By 15 August, they were at the gates of Kabul.