Afghan Independence Day Rally: Several dead as Taliban open fire on protesters
Kabul, Aug 19: Multiple fatalities were reported from the Asadabad city of Afghanistan after Taliban fighters fired at people, who were waiving the national flag at an Independence Day rally.
The protesters in Asadabad were reportedly waving the national flag after tearing down the white flags of the Taliban.
Mohammed Salim, an eye witness told Rueters that "Hundreds of people came out on the streets. At first I was scared and didn't want to go but when I saw one of my neighbours joined in I took out the flag I have at home."
"Several people were killed and injured in the stampede and firing by the Taliban," he, added.
The demonstrations, which come as Afghans mark the Independence Day holiday holiday that commemorates the 1919 treaty that ended British rule, were a remarkable show of defiance after the insurgents violently dispersed a protest Wednesday. At that rally, in the eastern city of Jalalabad, demonstrators lowered the Taliban''s flag and replace it with Afghanistan''s tricolor. At least one person was killed.
The Taliban so far have offered no specifics on how they will lead, other than to say they will be guided by Shariah, or Islamic, law. They are in talks with senior officials of previous Afghan governments. But they face an increasingly precarious situation.
Amid that uncertainty and concerns that the Taliban will reimpose their brutal rule, which included largely confining women to their homes and holding public executions, many Afghans are trying to flee the country.
Despite the chaos, the Taliban have urged people to return to work, but most government officials remain in hiding or are themselves attempting to flee. Questions remain over Afghanistan''s $9 billion in foreign reserves, the vast majority now apparently frozen in the U.S. The International Monetary Fund, meanwhile, said the militants for now would not be allowed to access loans or other resources.