Taliban militants violently disperse a rare Afghan protest

Taliban militants attacked protesters in Afghanistan Wednesday, killing at least one person. They also threatened to replace their flag with Afghanistan's.

Taliban militants violently disperse a rare Afghan protest

Taliban militants attacked protesters in Afghanistan Wednesday, killing at least one person. They also threatened to replace their flag with Afghanistan's.

18 August 2021 Wednesday 16:34
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Taliban militants violently disperse a rare Afghan protest

While the Taliban have insisted they will respect human rights, unlike during their previously draconian rule, the attack in Jalalabad came as many Afghans were hiding at home or trying to flee the country, fearful of abuses by the loosely controlled militant organization. Many fear that the two-decade-old Western effort to rebuild Afghanistan will be ruined by the resurgent Taliban who took over the country in a brief blitz that took only days.

Taliban leaders met Wednesday with top Afghan officials to discuss a possible future government. The head of Afghanistan's central bank said that American sanctions on the Taliban's terrorist designation could cause problems in any efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. This is a serious threat to Afghanistan's already fragile economy.

Ashraf Ghani (Afghan President) was absent from the talks in Kabul. He fled when the Taliban closed in on Kabul. Wednesday's acknowledgment by the United Arab Emirates was that the Gulf nation had taken Ashraf Ghani and his family into its country on humanitarian grounds.

As a protest against the Taliban's rule many gathered in Jalalabad, an eastern city, and a nearby town to raise the tricolor flag. This was just a day before Afghanistan's Independence Day. It commemorates the 1919 Treaty that ended British rule. They raised the Taliban flag, a white banner with an Islamic insignia -- which the militants had raised in the captured areas.

Later, video footage showed the Taliban shooting into the air and attacking people using batons to disperse them. Babrak Amirzada was a reporter from a local news agency and said that the Taliban beat him as well as a TV cameraman from another station.

Local health officials stated that at least one person was killed and six others were injured in the violence. Because he wasn't authorized to give briefing journalists, the official spoke under anonymity. The Taliban refused to acknowledge the protest and the violence.

It was a rare form of resistance to their rule. The Taliban took Kabul on Sunday. Only one protest was made by women in the capital.

The Taliban have been under no threat from armed resistance. Videos from Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul that show possible opposition figures, however, seem to show them gathering. This Panjshir valley is a stronghold for the Northern Alliance militias who allied with the U.S. in the 2001 invasion. This area is the only one that has not been occupied by the Taliban.

These figures include Vice President Amrullah Salih, who claimed on Twitter that he was the country's rightful President, and Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammedi, as well as Ahmad Massoud (the son of the Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud).

In an opinion piece published by The Washington Post, Massoud asked for weapons and aid to fight the Taliban.

He wrote, "I write today from Panjshir Valley, ready to follow my father's footsteps with mujahideen combatants who are prepared once again to take on the Taliban," The Taliban are not an issue for Afghans alone. Afghanistan, under Taliban control will undoubtedly become the ground zero for radical Islamist terrorist terrorism. This will allow plots against democracy to be launched once more."

Meanwhile, the Taliban continued to push forward with their efforts for an "inclusive and Islamic government." They have been meeting with Hamid Karzai, the former Afghan president, and Abdullah Abdullah (a senior official in that government). Mohammad Yusof Saha said that preliminary meetings with Taliban officials would lead eventually to negotiations with Mullah Abdul Gani Baradar (the top Taliban political leader, who recently returned from Qatar).

Abdullah and Karzai met Wednesday with Anas Haqqani. Anas Haqqani is a leader of the powerful Taliban faction known as the Haqani Network. That network, once allied to the U.S. during the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, was blamed for a series of devastating suicide attacks amid the U.S. war in Afghanistan. U.S. sanctions are also imposed on the Haqqani Network and other Taliban groups.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people remained outside Kabul's airport, already the scene of deadly chaos involving crowds trying to flee the country. Before allowing a rare passenger in, the Taliban demanded documents. Many people outside didn't appear to have passports and dozens of people tried to get through every time the gate was opened. To disperse the crowd, the Taliban occasionally fired warning shots.

According to Sam Lerman (an Air Force veteran who helps former colleagues flee the country), one Afghan who worked for the U.S. military claimed that he was refused entry by American troops. Lerman stated that the Afghan was told that he required a green card.

Lerman stated that "people are going to die" because of this confusion.

Residents claim that the Taliban have pledged to keep security but groups of armed men have been visiting doors to inquire about Afghans who have worked with the Americans and the deposed government. It is unclear whether the gunmen are Taliban militants or criminals pretending to be militants.

Although Ghani is still the president of Afghanistan in theory, many blame him for the fall of Afghan security forces.

Ghani spoke late Wednesday night in a Facebook video. He said that he had abandoned Kabul to the Taliban advance, and described it as the only way of preventing bloodshed. Rumours that he fled with millions of dollars were denied by Ghani.

Ghani stated that he was forced to leave Afghanistan without a set of traditional clothing, including a vest and sandals. Ghani also stated that he supports the Taliban talks with Karzai and Abdullah.

A sign of the monetary problems any future Afghan government will face is the statement by the head of Afghanistan’s central bank that the country's supply physical U.S. dollar is "close to zero". Afghanistan has about $9 billion in reserves, Ajmal Ahmedy tweeted. However, most of it is held outside of Afghanistan with $7 billion in U.S. Federal Reserve assets, bonds, and gold.

Ahmady stated that the country didn't receive any planned cash shipment during the Taliban offensive.

He wrote, "The next shipment has never arrived." "It seems like our partners had good intelligence about what was going to occur."

An American official confirmed that the Treasury Department had frozen the accounts of the Afghan government in the United States and stopped direct assistance payments to it. Because he was not authorized, the official spoke under condition of anonymity.

Ahmady stated that the absence of U.S. Dollars will likely cause a depreciation in the local currency, the Afghani, which will hurt the country's poor.

He wrote that the "Taliban won militarily but now have to govern." It is difficult.



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