Afghanistan Update

On Wednesday, the Taliban violently dispersed protesters in eastern Afghanistan as the Islamic movement suppressed public dissent for the first time since seizing power.

A video clip posted by Afghan news agencies on social media showed Taliban militants firing into the air among the crowds in Jalalabad. There were also reports of protesters being beaten. Reuters reported that at least three people were killed in the city.

After the Afghans tried to raise the national flag in obvious contempt for the Taliban, protests broke out, and the Taliban hoisted a white flag bearing the Islamic oath.

The Afghan television network TOLO News reported that similar protests took place in the eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar and Khost, where Afghans also held rallies.

“We raised our flag in the middle of the bazaar, and our national flag is our national identity,” TOLO quoted Kunar residents as saying.

The Taliban’s tough response to the protests could undermine its leader’s efforts to create a more moderate public image after its forces occupied Kabul on Sunday, which had previously had an astonishing week across the country after the U.S. withdrew from the country. progress.

Twenty years after the U.S.-led invasion, the Taliban tried to appease the Afghans at the first press conference after returning to power in Afghanistan on Tuesday, saying they would amnesty their opponents and Commitment to protect women’s rights Within the scope of Islamic law.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that militants will not retaliate against government officials or Afghan soldier It has been fighting for the past two decades.

A Taliban fighter walks through a beauty salon in Sarnau, Kabul, full of defaced photographs of women. The Taliban leaders pledged to protect women’s rights within the framework of Islamic law. ©Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty

The Taliban also ordered its fighters not to interfere with the operations of international organizations such as the United Nations. However, it is not yet clear how much control the political leadership has over the local fighters. Analysts say there are various factions within the movement.

“These people have not met face-to-face with their military commanders in 10 or 15 years,” said Rudra Chaudhuri, a senior lecturer in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

The head of Afghan media Saad Mohseni’s company owns one of the country’s most popular TV stations, TOLO TV. He told the Financial Times that he had received a guarantee from the Taliban, which was relayed by a third party. , His business will be allowed to continue as normal. But he is cautious about the future of operations in Afghanistan.

“The Taliban movement is not a centralized, complex political movement. It is not led by one person, a committee, or a faction, so if someone else is in charge of the media, one person’s assurance may not make much sense,” Mohseni said. “Someone may come in tomorrow and say to cut all your broadcasts. There are no guarantees.”

He said that his TV channel will continue to broadcast news as long as it is allowed, adding that the editor in Kabul will decide whether to stop the broadcast of female reporters.

However, he did shut down the network’s music channel on Sunday to avoid being “provided.”

At Kabul Airport, the U.S. and other countries keep it up Evacuation of foreign nationals and Afghan allies, halted flights several times and killed at least five people after the chaos this week.

The United States’ goal is to evacuate as many as 9,000 people per day, which is a significant increase from the hundreds of people taking off from the country every day so far.

General Frank Mackenzie, the commander of the US military in the region, said he has warned Taliban leaders “not to interfere with our evacuation.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that after the fall of the Afghan government, he still hopes that the Turkish army will provide security at Kabul Airport and reiterated his willingness to meet with Taliban leaders.

After NATO’s withdrawal, Turkey has been negotiating with the United States to keep a 500-man battalion at the airport, but the Taliban’s rapid march to the Afghan capital put the plan into question. The Taliban stated that Turkey must leave the country with other NATO forces.

“No matter who is in power, our commitment and brotherhood
We are required to support Afghanistan in good times and bad times,” Erdogan said. “Our agency has communicated with the Taliban. . . A generation
I have already said that I will receive Taliban leaders, I keep
This position.

He said in a TV interview: “We also welcome the restraint and gentle statement made by the Taliban leaders, especially the Taliban’s attitude towards Turkey is not hostile, but more cautious.”

After Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan over the weekend, the Afghan government collapsed. The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that it welcomed the former World Bank employee and his family into the country “on humanitarian grounds.”

Discuss the fall of Afghanistan with reporters and guests from the Financial Times: What’s the next step?Register FT subscriber Internet Conference Wednesday, August 25

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