The demonstrations began after the new regime replaced the Afghan tricolour with the Emirate's flag. At least two people killed and dozens injured

First anti-Taliban protests in Jalalabad

PHOTO/ Pajhwok Afghan News/Handout via REUTERS - People carry Afghan flags as they take part in an anti-Taliban protest in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on August 18, 2021, in this screenshot taken from a video.

The first protests have already erupted in Afghanistan against the new Taliban regime. The insurgents, who have only been in power for a week, have suppressed the demonstrations in the city of Jalalabad with gunfire. At least three people have been reported killed and dozens wounded by Taliban gunfire.

The crackdown began after several citizens exchanged the Emirate's black and white flag for the Afghan tricolour flag on the occasion of Independence Day. "Since we saw the arrival of the Taliban, they have gradually removed the national flags of Afghanistan and replaced them with the Taliban flag. We have seen it in Kabul. A lot of people are not happy about that, but by and large they had to put up with it," reports Al-Jazeera journalist Rob McBride. In Jalalabad, however, they have not tolerated the insurgents' replacement of the national flag, causing a massive protest.

"The protesters wanted to hang the tricolour national flag on the eve of the anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from the British Empire," a Jalalabad resident told EFE news agency. Subsequently, protests in favour of the tricolour flag moved to other cities such as Kunar, Jost and Nangarhar, where there were also deaths and injuries.

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The flag is a relevant issue in all that is happening in Afghanistan because of the value it has for the citizens. "The flag has been the symbol of identity for Afghans for the last two decades," a Kabul citizen told EFE. "I hope the Taliban won't change it, millions of Afghans love it with all their hearts," he adds. However, the country's new authorities have already begun to use the white flag of the Taliban movement. At the first press conference the insurgent spokesman, Zabihulla Mujahid, already showed the flag with the shahada.

Afghan women revolt against Taliban rule

In Kabul, on the other hand, there have been riots around the international airport. Twelve people have been killed in gunfire and stampedes, Reuters reports. The capital also saw a protest led by Afghan women. Although the Taliban have declared that women will be able to work and study within "the frameworks of Islam", many women citizens do not believe them. For this reason, a group of Afghan women have taken to the streets with placards demanding that their rights be respected. "These brave women have taken to the streets of Kabul to protest against the Taliban. They are only demanding their right to work, to study and to participate in politics. Their right to live safely in society. I hope more women and men will join them," wrote Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and feminist activist, on her Twitter account.

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Last July, coinciding with the Taliban's expansion across the country, many Afghan women took to the streets armed in the northern and central regions. "There were many women who just wanted to inspire the security forces, but many more were ready to go to the battlefields," said Halita Parastish, one of the protesters at the time.

Anti-Shia campaign

A statue of Abdul Ali Mazari was destroyed by the Taliban in the central province of Bamiyan on Wednesday. Mazari was the leader of a Shia militia that fought insurgents during Afghanistan's civil war. He was eventually killed by the Taliban in 1996 when they seized power. Mazari was also a strong supporter of the Hazara ethnic minority, which belongs to the Shia branch of Islam. The Bamiyan region was also home to the two huge 1,500-year-old Buddha statues that the Taliban blew up in 2001, before the US invasion.

Panjshir, last bastion of resistance to the Taliban

Panjshir, a province in northern Afghanistan with a large number of Tajiks, has become the main focus of resistance to the insurgents. "Only Panjshir is resisting. Led by Vice President Amrullah Saleh. Panjshir will stand strong against anyone who wants to enslave the people," said the Afghan ambassador to Tajikistan, Zahir Aghbar. Saleh has proclaimed himself president following the flight of Ashraf Ghani. He has also supported protests against the Taliban regime. "I express my respect, support and appreciation for the brave and patriotic movement of the honourable people of my country in different places to raise the national flag against the Taliban proxy group," Saleh said.


The politician and former Tajik fighter was part of the "Northern Alliance", a military front that fought against the Taliban government. Saleh was a partner of Ahmad Shah Massoud, known as the "Lion of Panjshir", a great strategist who was able to prevent the fall of the region. Massoud was killed by Al-Qaeda in a suicide attack two days before the 9/11 attacks.

His son, Ahmad Massoud, has also become a key figure in the Afghan resistance. "My comrades-in-arms and I myself will give our blood, along with all free Afghans who reject serfdom and whom I call to join our ranks in our stronghold of Panjshir," Massoud's son announced.