Taliban opened fire to disperse protesters

Taliban gunmen fired into the air to disperse protesters gathered in front of the Pakistani embassy in Kabul.

At least 70 Afghans, mostly women, on September 7 gathered in front of the Pakistani embassy in the capital, Kabul, holding banners and chanting slogans against Islamabad’s intervention in the Central Asian country. The Taliban gunmen then fired multiple shots into the air to disperse the group of protesters.

Pakistan has long been suspected of having close ties to the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. Pakistani intelligence chief Faiz Hameed visited the capital Kabul last week, reportedly meeting the Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan and Taliban officials.

The protests come a day after the Taliban announced full control of Afghanistan on September 6, claiming victory in a key battle to capture the Panjshir valley, a stronghold of opposition forces.

Another protest on September 6 took place in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan, when a small group of women demanded rights. Another group of women in the city of Herat took to the streets last week to demand the right to join the new Afghan government.

A Taliban fighter stands next to a group of women protesting in front of the Pakistani embassy in Afghanistan on September 7.  Photo: AFP.

A Taliban fighter stands next to a group of women protesting in front of the Pakistani embassy in Afghanistan on September 7. Photo: AFP.

The Taliban won a lightning victory in August over Afghan security forces. After the US withdrew all its forces and ended the 20-year military campaign in Afghanistan, the Taliban pushed their troops into the Panjshir valley.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid warned against any forces opposing their rule. “Whoever tries to start an uprising will be met with a strong response. We will not allow another insurgency,” Mujahid said.

The Taliban is carrying out a massive transfer of power in important organizations and cities with thousands of personnel involved. Spokesman Mujahid said an interim government would be announced and changes would follow.

The Taliban has pledged to remain more inclusive than it was during its first rule, with a government representing all of Afghanistan’s peoples. However, it is not clear whether Afghan women will be able to join the new government. Women’s rights were severely restricted during the Taliban’s first rule in 1996-2001.

The Taliban’s education administration said Afghan women would be able to attend university, but that men and women would have to study in different classrooms or be separated by a curtain. The Taliban are grappling with the financial and humanitarian crises that await in Afghanistan.

Nguyen Tien (Follow AFP)

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