Afghanistan’s Taliban Rulers Declare Islamic Emirate As Fighters Kill Protesters (Video)


By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy

(Worthy News) – ’s ruling group declared the nation an “Islamic Emirate” Thursday, prompting more protests in which several people were killed, footage showed. Zabihullah Mujahid, the group’s spokesman, announced the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on social with a photo of the country’s new logo.

His remarks came as Afghans risked their lives waving the national flag in Kabul and other cities in anti-Taliban protests marking the 102nd anniversary of independence from British rule.

In the capital, men and women carried the black, red, and green flags of the Afghan Republic, chanting, “Our flag, our identity,” footage showed. In Asadabad in Konar province, witnesses said, several people died after the Taliban fired on a similar rally. Video viewed by saw crowds coming under fire.

Witness Mohammed Salim said it was difficult to say whether the casualties resulted from the Taliban’s gunshots or the stampede of protesters trying to escape the gunfire. “Hundreds of people came out on the streets. At first, I was scared and didn’t want to go, but when I saw one of my neighbors joined in, I took out the flag I have at home,” he told Reuters news agency. “Several people were killed and injured in the stampede and firing by the Taliban,” Salim added.

A Taliban spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The reported deaths came a day after some three people were killed and more than a dozen injured when Taliban militants opened fire during protests against the group in the Afghan city of Jalalabad, witnesses said.

A Taliban announcement that it would introduce a strict nationwide interpretation of , or Sharia law, also fueled public anger. Several sources said it was also expected to increase the persecution of thousands of minority Christians in Afghanistan.

The Taliban plans didn’t appear to surprise U.S. President . The president told ABC News television Thursday that he did not believe the Taliban had changed since it first ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

It was the first on-camera interview of Biden, who, unlike the Taliban, hadn’t answered reporters’ questions since the fall of Kabul over the weekend. He said U.S. troops might stay past an August 31 deadline to evacuate all Americans from Afghanistan amid mounting difficulties.

The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that the U.S. evacuated about 7,000 people out of Kabul, Afghanistan, by cargo aircraft in the past five days.

Biden defended the U.S. withdrawal despite Taliban fighters releasing thousands of militants linked to terror groups al-Qaida and Islamist State from prison. He said there was no way for the U.S. to pull out “without chaos ensuing.”

CHAOTIC SCENES

Evidence of chaotic scenes also emerged Thursday around Kabul’s main airport, where huge crowds attempted to flee the nation amid shootings and beatings. Several people have been injured or even killed in recent days in the area.

Earlier this week, a teenager on Afghanistan’s youth national football team was one of the victims that fell from the U.S. military C-17 aircraft, said Afghanistan’s General Directorate of Physical and Sports. “With great regret and sadness, we obtained information that Zaki Anwari, one of the youth footballers of the national team, has lost his life in a horrible incident,” the statement confirmed about Monday’s incident.

Afghan journalist Ramin Rahman, 27, was among those who could leave on a U.S. military plane from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, which had hundreds on board. “There was no room to sit – everyone was standing. People were clutching each other and their children. I couldn’t breathe,” explained the journalist who had been reporting for German media.

“The flight was challenging. So many babies were on board, and parents held them above their heads to ensure they wouldn’t be stepped on. There was no food, water, or breathing room for hours,” he recalled.

Rahman told The Guardian newspaper that the plane eventually landed in Qatar. “I took a chance to change my life from what could be a very terrible situation. I am just looking forward to the next steps and what will come. I’m sad that I left everything. I’m sad for Afghanistan. But I’m so happy that I’m alive.”

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