HUNDREDS OF Taliban fighters took to the streets of Kabul on Monday to rejoice the primary anniversary of their takeover of Afghanistan, driving in open pick-up vehicles, holding automated weapons and waving their group’s white-and-black flags.
The Taliban regime marked the event with sedate victory speeches by senior leaders inside a state-media auditorium within the high-security Inexperienced Zone, near the Indian Embassy. However few civilians, both on the streets or indoors, took half within the celebrations — and no ladies in any respect.
Nevertheless, a small group of girls reportedly met in secret at a home in Kabul to mark their protest, and pledged to proceed their resistance towards the Taliban. A press release by the group, RAWA (Revolutionary Affiliation of the Girls of Afghanistan), denounced the Taliban for being anti-women and blamed the US for the “planned” handover of energy final 12 months.
On the streets, fighters congregated by the day at a distinguished roundabout in Kabul named after Ahmad Shah Massoud, whose Northern Alliance was the primary resistance to the Taliban within the Nineteen Nineties earlier than he was killed by an Al Qaeda suicide bomber two days forward of the 9/11 assaults within the US.
“We defeated America, and we won our independence. That is what we are celebrating here,” mentioned Abdul Qahar Agha Jan, from Laghman province, south of Kabul. He mentioned he was working within the Ministry of Defence.
He mentioned the choice to congregate at Massoud Circle, near the US Embassy, was a message that the Taliban now rule Afghanistan. “We are in power. This place belongs to all Afghans. We also want to tell other mujahideen and the family members of Ahmad Shah Massoud that they come here and live with us in peace,” mentioned Agha Jan.
Among the fighters have been holding posters of the Haqqani group patriarch, Jalaluddin Haqqani, who died in 2018. A middle-aged Talib delivered a speech denouncing the latest US drone strike in Kabul to kill Ayman Al Zawahiri, and declared that the Individuals have been “lying” that that they had eradicated the Al Qaeda chief.
One group of Taliban behind a sand-coloured Toyota pick-up have been wearing US military uniforms with American army gear — night-vision tools, goggles, sand-coloured face masks and M4 automated carbines. As spiritual songs blared from transportable public deal with techniques, a Talib holding an M4 mentioned the weapon had been left behind by the “Amreeki” whereas one other held a Soviet-era gun, boasting that it “worked very well”.
Throughout the roundabout was an enormous concrete safety wall round a authorities ministry, painted with slogans hailing the Taliban’s victory final 12 months. “Freedom is as beautiful as spring,” one slogan proclaimed. “The people are our own, and we are from the people,” one other learn.
Many Taliban fighters additionally gathered on the Wazir Mohammed Akbar Khan hill, a couple of kilometres from the roundabout, anticipating a proper flag-hoisting on prime. With a music praising jihad within the background, they did the “atan” (a conventional pashtun dance) round a flagpole on which the Afghan Republican flag gifted by India had flown till the collapse of the republic final 12 months.
Requested why no ladies have been collaborating, a Talib mentioned, “they have their own work to do”; one other mentioned “it was not allowed under sharia”; and, a 3rd assured that “you will see women next year”.
Within the afternoon, all roads led to the auditorium of state-owned Radio Tv Afghanistan, the place youngsters sang a music in reward of Mullah Omar, the Taliban founder who died in 2013, with traces about how peace had returned to Afghanistan. VIPs spoke concerning the authorities’s achievements. The street to the Inexperienced Zone was jammed with automobiles, together with unmarked Toyota Prados ferrying Taliban leaders to the operate. However the prime management was not current, together with Sirajuddin Haqqani.
Mullah Omar’s son Mullah Yaqoub, who heads the defence ministry, mentioned the Taliban had restored safety within the nation. “Those who are plotting rebellion will be punished, and their plans defeated,” he mentioned.
“We should evaluate our performance of the year and ask ourselves if it is enough or not,” he mentioned, including that worldwide recognition, sanctions and blacklists didn’t matter. “Our efforts should be directed to serve this country and make progress,” he mentioned.
Amir Khan Muttaqi, who’s in command of the international ministry, mentioned Afghanistan desires good relations with all nations. He mentioned the Taliban’s international coverage was geared in direction of sustaining a steadiness within the area. “We don’t want to get into trouble with anyone. We have satisfied all countries that we will not allow the soil of Afghanistan to be used against anyone” he mentioned.
Though the day had been declared an official vacation, most of Kabul’s residents appeared to have determined to not step out, making this a Taliban-only celebration. On the secret protest by RAWA, the contributors reportedly pledged that their voices wouldn’t be drowned by gunfire — a reference to the aerial firing that the Taliban resorted to on Saturday to disperse a protest by ladies demanding “work, bread and education”.
In a press release, RAWA declared that the ladies of Afghanistan would proceed to withstand. “It was easily predictable that women and girls would be the prime victims of this barbaric rule and are facing devastating and inhumane suppression in all areas of life. However, the women of our country proved that no force could impose their reactionary ideologies or hold them captive inside their homes,” it mentioned.
“Afghan women made history by raising the flag of struggle against the Taliban and for freedom and justice. Since the first days of Taliban’s takeover, these women have protested on the streets without any fear of guns or whiplashes; they were suppressed, threatened, and humiliated, but bravely continued their fight,” RAWA mentioned.
It mentioned that “the inquisition-based government” was “so reactionary, abhorred, and brutal” that no nation had formally recognised it, “not even their supporters and patrons”. It denounced the US for “claims that they were surprised” by the autumn of Kabul and the escape of President Ashraf Ghani — and for supporting the Taliban regime by giving it monetary help.
“We have full faith in this great struggle and the extraordinary potential hidden in our Afghan women, and we warmly shake the hands of every justice-seeking force and individual in this crucial battle for Afghanistan and its people and to continue hoisting the banner of struggle against Taliban and Jihadi fundamentalism,” the assertion mentioned.