Today, 20 years ago, nearly 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks of September 11 in the United States. For the first time in its history, NATO decides to invoke the alliance and goes to war alongside the USA. Its target: Afghanistan. Civil war has been raging there since the withdrawal of Soviet troops in the late 1980s, during which the Taliban gained extensive control of Afghanistan. Because the Taliban government refuses to hand over Osama bin-Laden, the man behind the attacks, NATO troops begin supporting the United Front in the fight against the Taliban on Oct. 7. By the end of the year, they thus manage to oust the Taliban almost completely from Afghanistan. But the success is short-lived: the Islamists regroup in Pakistan and regain control of large parts of Afghanistan in the coming years. The great victory fails to materialize, and instead the war drags on from year to year, consuming more and more lives and money. The deployment of NATO troops is becoming increasingly unpopular, and not only in Afghanistan. At the same time, it is not succeeding in putting the Afghan state on its own feet. With the withdrawal of the last NATO troops in 2021, the Taliban is able to take over large areas of Afghanistan without a fight. The complete collapse of the government follows in August. Twenty years after the September 11 attacks, Afghanistan is once again ruled by the Taliban. Thousands of people tried to leave the country for fear of revenge actions by the Taliban regime, leading to chaotic conditions at the airport in Kabul. The countries involved in the NATO mission are accused of not having brought the allied Afghan aid workers to safety in time.