In Pictures: 20 years of war in Afghanistan

Launched in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the war in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Afghans, along with around 2,400 US soldiers, and seen trillions of dollars squandered in what has largely been deemed a failed nation-building project. Although the Taleban fell within a matter of weeks after the United States unleashed a ferocious bombing campaign and incited tribal uprisings, the conflict festered. What began as a mission to dismantle Al-Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan evolved over the years into a full-scale war, triggering an insurgency that Washington’s enormous military firepower was unable to quell. But with the US military presence effectively gone, Afghanistan faces a very uncertain future. An increasingly confident Taleban appears set to attempt a military takeover, with another round of internecine civil war looming. - AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE