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The Taliban are facing increasing signs of dissent in several cities as Afghans raised their national flag during a protest the next day, and at least two people were reported to have died.
Protesters marched in Kabul and other cities on Thursday to celebrate Afghanistan’s Independence Day and to commemorate the end of British control of the country in 1919.
Some people were holding the black, red and green flags of Afghanistan, apparently in contempt of the Taliban, who flew white flags bearing Islamic oaths.
According to Al Jazeera, at least two people were killed in the eastern city of Asadabad when the Taliban opened fire on the crowd and stabbed a Taliban fighter. Reuters reported that it is not clear whether the deaths were caused by shooting or stampede.
The protests marked the strongest popular opposition to Islamists as they swept Kabul without dispute after they withdrew from US troops on Sunday.
In the first few days after the Taliban took over, many cities in Afghanistan maintained an uneasy calm because residents—especially professional women and those connected with the previous government or the military—stay at home for fear of reprisals.
The Taliban used brutal violence to suppress women’s rights and punish dissidents when they were in power in the 1990s, and have so far tried to present a more moderate image. A spokesperson for the organization said that opponents will be amnesty and women’s rights will be protected within the scope of Islamic law.
But observers are skeptical, and some of these proposals contradict reports that victorious militants have been beaten and killed.
Social media videos showed that Taliban militants opened fire into the air on Thursday to disperse the crowd around Kabul Airport, which has been the scene of continued chaos as many Afghans tried to flee the country.
The United States has sent at least 4,000 soldiers to protect the site and help American nationals and Afghan allies evacuate, but U.S. officials said the evacuation was slow and the situation Still unstable.
President Joe Biden admitted on Wednesday that the rapid withdrawal of the United States led to “the chaos that followed,” but believed it was inevitable.
He defended his handling of the crisis and the decision to advance the withdrawal of troops, even if the Taliban would quickly regain power.
The remaining opponents of Islamists hope that the protests on Wednesday and Thursday will mark the beginning of a more sustained resistance.
The Taliban have not yet conquered Panjshir, a mountain province that has long been a haven for guerrillas. Ahmad Massoud, the son of the famous anti-Taliban warlord, has stated that he is trying to summon resistance fighters at his base in the province.
The deposed Vice President Amrullah Saleh (Amrullah Saleh) who met with Masood this week and declared himself the caretaker president, Wrote on Twitter He “salute[s] Those who hold the national flag high to represent the dignity of the nation and the country”.