In Pictures: Taliban mass ‘at the gates’ of Kabul

Taliban fighters surrounded Kabul on Sunday as Afghans and foreigners alike raced for the exit, signaling the imminent end of a 20-year war.

The Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO over nearly two decades to build up Afghan security forces.

The Taliban swiftly defeated, co-opted, or sent Afghan security forces fleeing from wide swathes of the country.

Fighters encircled Kabul but remained outside of the capital’s downtown area. Sporadic gunfire echoed at times though the streets were largely quiet.