Pockets of anti-Taliban resistance emerge in the north; Rebels raise the flag of “Northern Alliance” in Panjshir Valley
Afghan protests and shows of defiance were met with deadly force by the Taliban. The jihadis shot unarmed demonstrators as anti-Taliban protests hit several cities.
“In Kabul and eastern Afghanistan, protesters rallied Thursday around the black, red and green Afghan national flag in a show of defiance against the Taliban takeover of much of the country,” German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported. the broadcaster quoted eyewitness reports saying “saying that several people were killed at a protest in Asadabad, the capital of eastern Kunar province.”
A day earlier, the Taliban had also used deadly force to quell protests marking the Afghan independence day. “On Wednesday in Jalalabad in eastern Paktia province, protesters stripped down the Taliban flag from a square and replaced it with the Afghan national flag. The Taliban reacted violently and killed at least one protester,” German broadcaster Deutsche Welle added.
On Thursday, the Taliban declared Afghanistan an “Islamic Emirate” and placed the country under Sharia law. The Afghan women will only be given rights per the Islamic Sharia law, the jihadi group vowed. Under Sharia, women and girls are confined to their houses and allowed to leave only in the company of a male chaperone and an all-covering burqa.
In her Thursday’s post, Mary Chastain covered the repression of Afghan women at the hands of the Taliban and noted the deafening silence of the Western feminists.
As the Taliban dismantles the Afghan state to make way for a Sharia-governed Emirate, the Afghan national flag has become a symbol of resistance against the Islamists. The Associated Press noted that the “black, red and green banners in honor of the Afghan flag … is becoming a symbol of defiance.”
Taliban has replaced the historic black, red, and green Afghan flag with its banner of jihad. The flag of the Taliban’s newly-declared “Islamic Emirate” is white with a Quranic inscription in black declaring that “there is no God but Allah.” The black flag of the Syria-based Islamic State had the same inscription.
Taliban Hunt Journalists, Former Government Officials
With the government’s fall in Kabul, the Taliban are carrying out door-to-door searches looking for critical journalists, former government officials, and those who cooperated with the U.S. and NATO troops.
In what appears to be a revenge killing aimed at a journalist, Taliban fighters killed a family member of a reporter working for the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW). “Taliban fighters hunting a DW journalist have shot dead one member of his family and seriously injured another,” the German broadcaster reported on Friday. “The Taliban were conducting a house-to-house search to try and find the journalist, who now works in Germany.”
The Taliban appears to be stepping up the combing operation, intelligence reports from Kabul conform. The Norwegian intelligence suggests that they are “intensifying the hunt-down of all individuals and collaborators with the former regime.”
The jihadis have threatened to exact revenge on their family members if the wanted government officials failed to surrender. “It said if they are not successful, the group is targeting and arresting family members and punishing them according to Shariah law,” German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported on Friday.
A secret United Nations report also confirmed those fears. “The Taliban are hunting for people who worked for or collaborated with American or other [NATO] forces and are threatening to kill or harm their relatives if they do not surrender, according to a confidential UN threat assessment,” The Times of London reported on Saturday.
U.S., NATO Scramble to Airlift Thousands As Pull-Out Deadline Looms
Since the fall of Kabul five days ago, over 18,000 Western and Afghan nationals have been evacuated, NATO sources confirm.
Thousands of U.S. nationals could still be stranded in the country. “It is estimated to be around 11,000 to 15,000 US citizens and dual US-Afghan citizens along with family members, as well as tens of thousands of Afghans who may also be at risk,” British newspaper The Guardian reported on Friday.
The enormity of the task means that the U.S. troops will be in Afghanistan beyond the August 31 deadline set by the Biden administration.
German broadcasters Deutsche Welle reported the details of the U.S. and NATO-led evacuation:
The effort to evacuate foreigners and Afghan nationals from Afghanistan is in full swing, a NATO official told Reuters news agency. The official said more than 18,000 people have been evacuated since Sunday.
Thousands of people, desperate to flee the country, continued to throng the airport, the official who declined to be identified said.
The Biden administration, meanwhile, said the United States has evacuated around 9,000 people, including around 3,000 on Thursday.
A White House official said they included 350 US citizens, their families, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants and vulnerable Afghan nationals.
The US State Department said Thursday it was sending more consular officers to Kabul and other locations, including Qatar and Kuwait, to help with the evacuation effort.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said 6,000 fully processed people were currently at the airport in Kabul and would soon be boarding planes.
Afghans Raise the Flag of Resistance Against Taliban
While the Taliban have wrested control over most of the country, a small pocket of resistance is emerging in the northern Afghan valley of Panjshir, just 70 miles from capital Kabul. For the first time since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the flag of the Northern Alliance has risen in the valley.
“The flag of the ‘Northern Alliance'”…”has been hoisted for the time since 2001 in Panjshir valley,” the Indian newspaper The Hindustan Times reported. “Afghan soldiers, who had managed to hide themselves from Taliban troops, are also apparently beginning to arrive in Panjshir at the call of Ahmad Massoud.” the newspaper added.
The retreating Afghan soldiers and militia have been joined by the ousted Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who has declared himself the caretaker president after Ashraf Ghani fled the country after the fall of Kabul. According to the UK newspaper The Independent, “a number of political and military leaders with connections to both the newly-ousted government and the resistance of old appear to be regrouping.”
Ahmad Masoud in #Panjshir valley with his patriots urging Afghans to join him for the freedom of their country. @ahmadmassoud01 is the son of the legendary national hero of #Afghanistan — Ahmad Shah Massoud. #Kabul #Afghan_lives_matter
— 🍁Noorullah Durrani 🇦🇫🇿🇦 | نورالله درانی🍁 (@HajiNoorUllah7) August 17, 2021
The control of the valley by the anti-Taliban resistance has a symbolic significance. The region remained undefeated during the Soviet occupation of the country and the subsequent Taliban rule. The valley became a staging post for the U.S. military and Afghan rebels as they drove out the Taliban in 2001.
[The author served as personal secretary to the German ambassador in Uzbekistan during the early years of NATO deployment in Afghanistan]DONATE
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