A Taliban fighter lifts a makeshift weight left behind by former prisoners at a prison in Kabul earlier this month. Photo: AP Photo/Felipe Dana
It’s been one month since Taliban fighters entered Kabul and the country’s president fled into exile, as the Islamist group completed their lightning-fast takeover of Afghanistan.
In that short space of time Kabul in particular and Afghan society as a whole has undergone a major transformation.
A huge number of people have fled the country, many during an immediate and chaotic scramble sparked by the Taliban unexpectedly seizing Kabul.
The Taliban initially claimed, to a sceptical worldwide audience, that an incoming government would be inclusive, that women’s rights would be protected under Sharia – Islamic law – and that journalists would be allowed to work “within our cultural framework”. All three promises have been clearly broken in the last month.
In the past weeks, the Taliban brought back a feared ministry that during the 1990s was responsible for sending patrols of men out on the streets with whips to ensure women obeyed draconian laws, while a US-designated terrorist was named the country’s interior minister.
The past month not only marked the Taliban regaining power, but the final withdrawal of US troops from the country, ending a 20-year war that the West lost.
On the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the Taliban raised their flag from presidential palace in Kabul, and a rally was held by women in favour of new policies that would ban women and men from going to university together.
Below we round-up some of the more surreal pictures that provide a glimpse of how a nation, and the lives of millions of people, was transformed in the space of a few weeks.
Taliban fighters sit in the cockpit of an abandoned Afghan Air Force aircraft at Kabul's airport at the end of August, after US troops withdrew. Photo: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images
A man paints over street art murals in Kabul following the Taliban takeover, replacing it with propaganda slogans against a grey backdrop. Photo: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images
A Taliban fighter sits as spectators watch a Twenty20 cricket match between two Afghan teams in Kabul in early September. Photo: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images
Taliban fighters take a selfie against the backdrop of Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum's aquarium, having taken over his mansion in Kabul. Photo: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images
An Afghan woman walks past beauty salons with defaced window displays, in Kabul earlier this month. Photo: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue
A TALIBAN MEMBER TRIES TO DESTROY A DVD OF THE CHILDREN'S FILM "KURT BECOMES CRUEL" FOUND IN THE NORWEGIAN EMBASSY IN KABUL. PHOTO: AFSHIN ISMAELI / AFTENPOSTEN / NTB VIA PA
Veiled women hold a pro-Taliban rally in Kabul on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Photo: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images
Taliban fighters wait for their meals at a restaurant in Kabul in last August. Photo: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images
The Taliban's Badri special force fighters and a journalist get up after falling from a vehicle at Kabul's airport at the end of August, after the US withdrew all troops from the country. Photo: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images
A Taliban fighter walks through the greenery at the home of warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, once one of the Taliban's fiercest enemies. Photo: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images
Fireworks are seen in Kabul on the night that US troops left the country, ending a 20-year war that it lost. Photo: AFP via Getty Images