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Afghanistan on edge after anti-Taliban protest in east, Kabul calm as airlift goes on Reuters by way of biedexmarkets.com


© Reuters. Individuals carry Afghan flags as they participate in an anti-Taliban protest in Jalalabad, Afghanistan August 18, 2021 on this display seize taken from a video. Pajhwok Afghan Information/Handout by way of REUTERS

KABUL (Reuters) – As america and different Western powers pressed on with the evacuation of their nationals and a few Afghans on Thursday, the remainder of Afghanistan waited to see whether or not the nation’s independence day would stir extra anti-Taliban protests.

Demonstrations within the japanese metropolis of Jalalabad on Wednesday marked the primary main show of collective defiance for the reason that insurgents seized management of the capital, Kabul, initially of the week.

In regular instances, the nation would rejoice Afghanistan’s 1919 independence from British management on Aug. 19, however scenes in Jalalabad raised the prospect that individuals might use the patriotic event to protest towards Taliban rule.

Two witnesses and a former police official informed Reuters Taliban fighters opened hearth when protesters in Jalalabad tried to hoist the nationwide flag at a sq., killing three and wounding greater than a dozen.

Video aired by British information channel Sky Information confirmed a whole lot of Afghans gathered in Jalalabad, with the black, purple and inexperienced tricolour flying from a number of rooftops and carried by some protesters. Sky reported they’d torn down the Taliban’s white flag.

“I’m standing right here in entrance of you. You’ll be able to hit me with 30 bullets, kill me, I’ll sacrifice my life for this flag. That is my flag. My authorities will quickly be again, God keen,”

mentioned one protester wrapped within the tricolour within the Sky report.

Taliban spokespeople couldn’t be reached for remark.

The centre of resistance is the Panjshir Valley, an ethnic-Tajik stronghold to the northeast of Kabul.

In an op-ed https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/18/mujahideen-resistance-taliban-ahmad-massoud for the Washington Submit, Amad Massoud, the Panjshiri chief of the Nationwide Resistance Entrance of Afghanistan referred to as for Western assist and arms to struggle the Taliban.

“I write from the Panjshir Valley at the moment, able to observe in my father’s footsteps, with mujahideen fighters who’re ready to as soon as once more tackle the Taliban,” wrote Massoud, the son of Amhad Shah Massoud, a resistance chief killed by suspected al Qaeda militants on behalf of the Taliban in 2001.

“We have now fought for therefore lengthy to have an open society, one the place women might turn out to be docs, our press might report freely, our younger folks might dance and hearken to music or attend soccer matches within the stadiums that had been as soon as utilized by the Taliban for public executions — and will quickly be once more.”

AIRPORT CALM

Because the airlift of Western residents and Afghans who labored for overseas governments sought to ramp up, President Joe Biden mentioned U.S. forces would stay till the evacuation of Individuals was completed, even when that meant staying previous the Aug. 31 U.S. deadline for full withdrawal.

Witnesses mentioned Kabul’s airport was calm early on Thursday.

In whole, not less than 8,000 folks have been evacuated since Sunday, a Western safety supply in Kabul mentioned.

A day earlier armed Taliban members prevented folks from moving into the airport compound.

“It is a full catastrophe. The Taliban had been firing into the air, pushing folks, beating them with AK47s,” mentioned one one that was making an attempt to get via on Wednesday.

A Taliban official mentioned commanders and troopers had fired into the air to disperse crowds outdoors Kabul airport, however informed Reuters: “We have now no intention to injure anybody.”

(For a graphic on the airport chaos, click on on: https://tmsnrt.rs/3stVpcj)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mentioned home air carriers and civilian pilots will likely be allowed to fly into Kabul to conduct evacuation or reduction flights solely with prior U.S. Protection Division approval.

‘CHAOS INEVITABLE’

Going through a barrage of criticism over the U.S. withdrawal, Biden mentioned chaos was inevitable. Requested in an interview with ABC Information if the exit of U.S. troops might have been dealt with higher, Biden mentioned: “No. … The concept by some means, there is a approach to have gotten out with out chaos ensuing, I do not know the way that occurs.”

A brand new authorities to exchange that of President Ashraf Ghani, who’s in exile within the United Arab Emirates, could take the type of a ruling council, with Taliban supreme chief Haibatullah Akhundzada in total cost, a senior member of the group mentioned.

Afghanistan wouldn’t be a democracy. “It’s sharia regulation and that’s it,” Waheedullah Hashimi, a senior Taliban official, informed Reuters.

Ghani, who has been bitterly criticised by former ministers for leaving Afghanistan as Taliban forces swept into Kabul on Sunday, mentioned he had adopted the recommendation of presidency officers. He denied reviews he took massive sums of cash with him.

“If I had stayed, I’d be witnessing bloodshed in Kabul,” Ghani mentioned in a video streamed on Fb (NASDAQ:).