Afghanistan Begins to Show First Signs of Resistance Against New Taliban Order
By: Sashwata Saha
As thousands of Afghans attempt to flee Taliban rule following their brutal takeover, the first signs of resistance to the new regime have started to show in the capital Kabul as well as other provincial cities. In at least one of these protests, the Taliban’s response has been to gun down mostly peaceful demonstrators.
From the streets of Kabul, a video has emerged on social media showing a small group of women holding placards and demanding equal rights as armed Taliban fighters look on. In another clip shared by an Al-Jazeera correspondent, more women can be seen marching down the thoroughfare, chanting slogans. The armed men seem to be pointing and speaking to the women but do not appear to be getting in the way of their protest.
Meanwhile, 115 kilometres away in Jalalabad, a group of peaceful demonstrators took down the Taliban standard atop the town hall. Their attempt to reinstate the Afghanistan flag in its place was met by gunfire that killed three and injured at least a dozen others. Firing was also reported from a central square in the nearby Daronta district, which was seeing similar protests.
In Tuesday’s press conference, the first that the Taliban took after capturing Kabul, the group’s leaders had assured citizens of safety and ‘general amnesty’, adding that the Taliban will not take revenge against those who supported the US-backed alliance. They haver also promised to protect the rights of women - a major concern given their history.
Meanwhile, Amrullah Saleh, Afghanistan’s vice president since last year, has declared citing the Afghan constitution that, since President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country and his whereabouts are unknown, he is now the country’s “legitimate caretaker president.” Saleh was the head of the Afghan intelligence till 2018 and is known for his vicious hatred of the Taliban.
Since the fall of Kabul on Sunday, Saleh has been reported by AFP to have relocated to the Panjshir Valley, where he is part of an anti-Taliban front along with Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, and Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, Afghanistan’s defence minister in the Ghani cabinet. Panjshir remains one of the last bastions against the extremists.
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