Afghanistan crisis International

3 killed in anti-Taliban protests; militants destroy statue of foe

Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan on August 18, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

At least three people were killed in anti-Taliban protests in the Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, witnesses said, as the group tried to set up a government and Western countries stepped up evacuations of diplomats and civilians.

More than a dozen people were injured after Taliban fighters opened fire on protesters in the eastern city, two witnesses and a former police official said.


Dozens of people had gathered in Jalalabad to raise the national flag a day before Afghanistan’s Independence Day, which commemorates the end of British rule in 1919.

They lowered the Taliban flag — a white banner with an Islamic inscription — that the militants have raised in the areas they captured. Video footage later showed the Taliban firing into the air and attacking people with batons to disperse the crowd. Babrak Amirzada, a reporter for a local news agency, said he and a TV cameraman from another agency were beaten by the Taliban as they tried to cover the unrest. Taliban spokesmen were not immediately reachable for comment.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban blew up a statue in Bamiyan depicting Abdul Ali Mazari, a militia leader killed by the Taliban in 1996, when the Islamic militants seized power from rival warlords. Mazari was a champion of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara minority, Shias who were persecuted under the Sunni Taliban’s earlier rule.


That further raised concerns about whether they would make good on their promises, including not seeking revenge on those who have opposed them.

As the Taliban consolidated power, one of their leaders and co-founders, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, returned to Afghanistan for the first time in more than 10 years. A Taliban official said leaders would show themselves to the world, unlike in the past when they lived in secret. “Slowly, gradually, the world will see all our leaders,” the senior Taliban official said. “There will be no shadow of secrecy.”

But thousands of Afghans, many of whom helped the U.S.-led foreign forces, are desperate to leave the country. About 5,000 diplomats, security staff, aid workers and Afghans have been evacuated from Kabul in the past 24 hours, a Western official said.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 5:36:28 AM |

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