On Aug. 16, 300,000 Afghan soldiers surrendered Kabul to 74,000 Taliban troops without a fight. With that, the 20-year U.S. war in Afghanistan came to an end.

To use the words of Ernest Hemingway in "The Sun Also Rises," this conclusion to the conflict came about “gradually, then suddenly.”

The Taliban have mercilessly assassinated Afghan Air Force pilots and their families. On July 2, U.S. forces withdrew from Bagram Airfield located north of Kabul. This airfield had been the last bastion of the Afghan government’s air supremacy. Without it, government troops immediately lost their fighting spirit.