NEW YORK – With the region descending into chaos much sooner than intelligence experts expected, the Taliban overran Lower Manhattan on Thursday, less than a week after the Biden administration left a memorial event at the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood. “It now appears clear that when President Biden ordered members of his team to leave New York after the 9/11 memorial service, it left a power vacuum down Fulton Street that the Taliban quickly exploited,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who made it clear. Desperate scenes of bankers, shopkeepers and tourists trying to hang on to the Marines One as it took off from the helipad in midtown Manhattan was heartbreaking but inescapable. “We assumed the NYPD would hold their ground, but they handed over their weapons and retreated almost immediately as Taliban forces moved in and formed a de-facto government at One World Trade Center. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before the five boroughs fall.” At press time, the Taliban’s power has been greatly bolstered by real estate holdings estimated at $1.4 trillion left behind by US officials during the failed evacuation of the city.