KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s embattled president has left the country, joining his fellow citizens and foreigners in a stampede fleeing the advancing Taliban.

Get our free mobile app

The exodus signals the end of a 20-year Western experiment aimed at remaking Afghanistan.

The Taliban announced soon after they would move further into Kabul.

They had been on the outskirts for hours. Kabul is gripped by panic, and helicopters raced overhead to evacuate personnel from the U.S. Embassy.

Smoke rose near the compound as staff destroyed important documents.

Several other Western missions also prepared to pull their people out.

Civilians fearing that the Taliban could reimpose the kind of brutal rule that all but eliminated women’s rights rushed to leave the country as well.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.