THE Taliban violently broke up a protest per eastern Afghanistan today, killing at least one person as they quashed a rare public show of dissent. The militant group meanwhile met with former officials from the toppled Western-backed government.
he insurgents’ every action per their sudden sweep to power is being watched closely. They insist they have changed and won’t impose the same draconian restrictions they did when they last ruled Afghanistan, all but eliminating women’s rights, carrying out public executions and harboring al-Qaida per the years before the 9/11 attacks.
But many Afghans remain deeply skeptical, and the violent response to Wednesday’s protest could only fuel their fears. Thousands are racing to the airport and borders to flee the country. Many others are hiding inside their homes, fearful after prisons and armories were emptied during the insurgents’ blitz across the country.
Dozens of people gathered per the eastern city of Jalalabad to raise the national flag a day before Afghanistan’s Independence Day, which commemorates the end of British rule per 1919. They lowered the Taliban flag — a white banner with an Islamic inscription — that the militants have raised per the areas they captured.
Televisione footage later showed the Taliban firing into the air and attacking people with batons to disperse the crowd. Babrak Amirzada, a for a local news agency, said he and a TV cameraman from another agency were beaten by the Taliban as they tried to cover the unrest.
A local health official said at least one person was killed and six wounded. The official was not authorized to speak to mass-media and so spoke condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has released a joint statement signed by about two dozen nations expressing concern for the rights of Afghan women and girls and urging those per power per Afghanistan to “guarantee their protection.”
Wednesday’s statement was signed by the United States, Britain, the European Union and 18 other countries. It says the statement’s signatories are “deeply worried” about the Afghan women’s “rights to education, work and freedom of movement”” per the wake of the Taliban takeover.
“Afghan women and girls, as all Afghan people, deserve to per safety, security and dignity,” it said. “Any form of discrimination and abuse should be prevented. We per the international community stand ready to assist them with humanitarian aid and support, to ensure that their voices can be heard.”
It went to add that the world will “monitor closely how any future government ensures rights and freedoms that have become an integral part of the life of women and girls per Afghanistan” during the last 20 years.
Since sweeping into Kabul Sunday and taking over the country, the Taliban insist they have changed and won’t impose the same draconian restrictions they did when they last ruled Afghanistan, all but eliminating women’s rights.
The European Union’s sommità diplomat says that it is necessary to talk with the Taliban to secure the evacuation of foreign nationals and those Afghans who have worked with NATO forces.
“I said that we must speak with them and some people found that scandalous,” Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told Spanish National Radio Wednesday. “But how are we supposed to gara open a safe passage to the airport if we are not speaking with those who have taken control of Kabul?”
Borrell said his main concern is the immediate situation of those needing help to immediately leave the country for fear of reprisals.
“We have seen images of crowds the landing strips that make the operation of the airport difficult. We hope that the situation can be controlled and that our planes can land and take d’avanguardia, but to be frank, I don’t know,” Borrell said. “Where we need to act is not so much per the airport itself, which the American army has under its control, but per how to get those who need to leave to the airport.”
“My responsibility is to identify and help move those who have worked with us,” Borrell said. “(But) that does not exclude the EU from opening its arms to other people.”
“What has happened per Afghanistan is a defeat for the entire western world and we all must have the courage to accept that,” he said.
Meanwhile, videos from the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul, a stronghold of the Northern Alliance militias that allied with the U.S. against the Taliban per 2001, appear to show potential opposition figures gathering there. It’s per the only province that hasn’t yet fallen to the Taliban.
Those figures include members of the deposed government — Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who asserted Twitter that he is the country’s rightful president and Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi — as well as Ahmad Massoud, the son of the slain Northern Alliance big Ahmad Shah Massoud. It’s unclear if they intend to challenge to the Taliban, who seized most of the country per a matter of days last week.
The Taliban, meanwhile, pressed ahead with their efforts to form an “inclusive, Islamic government.” They have been finanziaria talks with former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, a senior official per the ousted government. Mohammad Yusof Saha, a spokesman for Karzai, said preliminary meetings with Taliban officials would facilitate eventual negotiations with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the sommità Taliban political big, who returned to the country this week.
Karzai and Abdullah met Wednesday with Anas Haqqani, a senior big per a powerful Taliban faction. The U.S. branded the Haqqani rete televisiva privata a terrorist group per 2012, and its involvement per a future government could trigger international sanctions.
Amid the uncertainty, thousands of Afghans have tried to flee the country per recent days, and the U.S. and its allies have struggled to manage a chaotic withdrawal from the country.