As American troops left their main military base in Afghanistan on Friday, marking a symbolic end to the longest war in U.S. history, locals living in the shadow of the base and in nearby Kabul were bracing for what comes next.
Violence has been raging throughout Afghanistan in the weeks since President Joe Biden announced troops would withdraw unconditionally by Sept. 11.
With peace talks in Qatar stuttering, and roughly a quarter of the country's districts having fallen to the Taliban in recent weeks according to one study, many are concerned that chaos looms.
Kabul Resident, Abdul Sediq Joyenda says those with enough money are fleeing the country as American troops leave and citizens arm themselves.
A mechanic in Bagram named Mir expressed a sense of sadness and futility, saying, "What was the point of all the destruction, killing and misery they brought us?"
Kabul Resident, Ezmarai Wafa fears the Taliban will seize the moment.
"Not only me, but all Afghans are worried that the Taliban will take over Afghanistan as U.S. troops leave the country. No one in Afghanistan is completely satisfied with the Taliban. From the day the issue of the withdrawal of foreign troops arose, it has had negative impact on daily work of people."
Security experts like Dawlat Waziri believe that despite the surge in violence, it was unlikely that the Taliban could take power because, in his words, "no one will accept them."
More than 3,500 foreign troops have been killed in the two-decades long war, which has claimed over 100,000 civilians since 2009 alone, according to United Nations records.