It was heartbreaking to watch, but of no real surprise — that was my initial response when Kabul had fallen to the Taliban.

Since I was director for the war-torn country at Japan’s Foreign Ministry for two years in the mid-1990s, it was particularly personal for me.

At the time, I frequently visited Afghanistan and Pakistan. I visited Kandahar in 1997 for talks with Taliban officials a few months before Osama Bin Laden reportedly moved his new residence to the Pashtun city. That was just four years before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.