Fatalities were reported on Thursday after the Taliban opened fire at an Independence Day rally in a regional Afghanistan town where protesters were flying the flag used by the former Western-backed government.
The Taliban, which was lauded by Britain’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, as wanting “an Afghanistan that is inclusive for all” only yesterday, is claimed to have attacked the rally where protesters flew the black, red, and green flag of the now-former government in the Kunar region’s provincial capital of Asadabad, according to Reuters.
There are conflicting accounts of the exact events in Asadabad. While Reuters notes a flag-waving rally marking the anniversary of Afghanistan gaining independence from Britain in 1919 being attacked, Al Jazeera claims the shooting followed a member of the crowd stabbing a Taliban fighter with a knife.
Al-Jazeera is funded by the government of Qatar, which has hosted the Taliban’s “political office” for years following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.
The Islamist fighters’ actions reportedly left several people dead, whether by the gunfire or the stampede it caused. Al Jazeera claimed “at least two” fatalities and eight injured.
“Hundreds of people came out on the streets,” said eyewitness Mohammed Salim, as quoted by Reuters.
“At first I was scared and didn’t want to go but when I saw one of my neighbours joined in I took out the flag I have at home,” Salim recounted.
“Several people were killed and injured in the stampede and firing by the Taliban.”
Similar scenes had unfolded in the city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, with the Taliban killing at least three after opening fire on protesters carrying the old flag, as Breitbart News reported.
Boris Johnson: West Could Recognise Taliban as Legit Afghan Govt if They Protect ‘Human Rights and Inclusivity’ https://t.co/qycBgEKXPE
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 18, 2021