Afghan security personnel guard Bagram airbase

The U.S. troops left behind a piece of the World Trade Center they buried 20 years ago in a country that could descend into civil war without them.

The quiet departure from Bagram Airbase came as the Taliban insurgency ramps up its offensive throughout the country after peace talks sputtered.

Locals living in the shadow of the base and in nearby Kabul were left ruing the past and bracing for what comes next.

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