Conflicts & War

Eerie calm on Kabul streets after Taliban sweep

Kabul, Aug 16 (EFE).- An uneasy calm prevailed in the Afghan capital as a large Afghan national flag continued to fly atop a Kabul hill on Monday, with gun-toting Taliban fighters patrolling the city drowned in fear.

Residents came out of their houses to resume their routine, a day after the Taliban takeover threw the city into chaos, in what looked like a throwback to the 1990s.

Most shops, businesses, and banks remained shut. But some small shopkeepers opened their stores, and employees returned to offices driving through congested streets.

“I am happy. I feared there will be clashes and bloodshed and destruction when the Taliban will try to capture the city,” Dawood Raufi, a Kabul resident of Kabul, told EFE.

Raufi hoped there would be no more violence as the insurgents had, so far, behaved well with Kabul residents.

The resilient city is witness to the bloody history of the Afghan conflict.

Bombs have shattered it, guns have perforated its walls and building with piercing bullets. It has gotten drenched in blood in the decades of the war.

For now, the Taliban, in several statements, assured Kabul residents that they would face no harm as the group did not want to avenge anyone.

The group issued a general amnesty for all, including government employees and security forces.

“We are here for the security of the people to prevent looting,” Ajmal, a Taliban fighter sporting long hair and a traditional Afghan hat, told EFE.

He said while their leaders would work out politics and other decisions, they were in Kabul to maintain its security.

Media outlets, including TV channels and radio stations, aired their programs as usual.

Many feared that the Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamist militia, would curb the media the way they did when they ruled the country from 1996-2001 before being pushed out of power by the US invasion.

Some radio stations continued to play music. The Taliban had banned music during their previous rule because they consider it un-Islamic.

The state-owned TV channel aired the recitation of verses from the Muslim holy book of the Quran.

The sports channel of the national broadcast aired cricket and football shows.

However, women were generally off the streets, particularly students and female employees.

“I hope the Taliban allow women to work, attend their university classes and do not impose burqa on them,” Hamida, 40, told EFE.

She was covered in a black veil with only her eyes visible and had gone to a hospital to see her doctor.

The city fell to the Taliban on Sunday afternoon after all Afghan security forces gradually evacuated without fighting.

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