Taliban fire at Jalalabad protesters seeking Afghan national flag restoration
Kabul, Aug 18 (EFE).- Hundreds of people took to the streets in Jalalabad city Wednesday, waving Afghan national flags and demanding its reinstatement.
The protesters in the capital of the eastern Nangahar province wanted to hoist the national flag on the eve of the Afghan independence day celebrated every year on Aug.19 to commemorate the end of British control over the country’s foreign affairs in 1919.
A resident, who did not want to be named, told EFE that some Taliban fighters reacted angrily and fired warning shots in the air to disperse the crowd.
However, they allowed the protesters to hoist the flag until a new government is formed that will decide whether the Taliban will change the symbol.
Local wire service Pajhwok Afghan News reported that some Taliban beat up some journalists covering the demonstration.
“Taliban firing on protesters in Jalalabad city and beaten (sic) some video journalists,” the news agency tweeted.
Pajhwok posted a video of the chaos on a busy street, with people running helter-skelter as they escape the pandemonium.
Gunshots could be heard in the video as a group of people unroll the Afghan vertically striped tricolor in the middle of the road.
Another video showed some gunmen, apparently the Taliban fighters, firing from AK-47 assault rifles to disperse the protesters carrying many Afghan national flags.
The insurgents, which are yet to announce the government formation, have been gradually removing the national flag and replacing it with their flag across Afghanistan.
Mujahid addressed the Kabul presser in front of the Taliban flag on Tuesday evening.
The Jalalabad incident came a day after the new Taliban leadership that swept to power in Afghanistan vowed not to seek revenge against those who fought against it and protect the rights of Afghan women within the rules of Islamic Sharia law.
Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told a Kabul news conference on Tuesday that the Taliban would protect the press freedom.
“We are committed to the media within our cultural frameworks. Private media can continue to be free and independent. They can continue their activities,” Mujahid said in the Taliban’s first news conference since seizing control of Afghanistan. EFE