For Afghanistan, 2021 was punctuated by the chaos of a U.S. withdrawal and an uncertain next chapter.
The Taliban quickly took power back in mid-August.
They could not be stopped by a collapsing Afghan military and Western-backed government that fled.
Four months into Taliban rule, Afghanistan is facing a looming economic meltdown and humanitarian catastrophe.
The world is waiting before extending any formal recognition to the new rulers, wary the Taliban could impose a similarly harsh regime as when they were in power 20 years ago.
That's despite their assurances to the contrary.
The Taliban urge patience but some signs are worrisome.
Associated Press reporters who covered the Afghan story reflect what has been a particularly tumultuous year.