LONDON (Bywire News) - Protesters waving the Afghanistan flag have been killed by the Taliban, witnesses say.
Earlier today, protesters in the capital city of Kabul marched through the streets carrying flags and chanting “our flag, our identity” and tearing down Taliban flags in retaliation to the country’s takeover by the militant extremists.
Yesterday, there were reports of Taliban soldiers firing at, and killing, protesters in the cities of Jalalabad, Asadabad and Khost.
Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh praised the protests on Twitter:
از حرکت شجاعانه و میهن دوستانه مردم با عزت کشورم در نقاط مختلف بخاطر برافراشتن پرچم ملی برضد گروه نیابتی طالب ابراز حرمت ، حمایت و قدردانی می نمایم. شماری درین راه با عزت شهید شدند— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) August 19, 2021
Salute those who carry the national flag & thus stand for dignity of the nation & the country.
In Asadabad, where several people were killed, witness and protester Mohammed Salim said:
"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 neighbours joined in, I took out the flag I have at home.
"Several people were killed and injured in the stampede and firing by the Taliban."
At least twelve people have died in or around Kabul airport trying to escape, however it is unclear if the deaths are from Taliban gunshots or from stampedes as thousands of people seek refuge.
Around 8,000 people have so far been rescued from Afghanistan since the takeover, including vulnerable Afghans and staff from other countries.
The Taliban began to take control of the country following the withdrawal of US troops, before claiming the city of Kabul on Sunday.
In a press conference earlier this week, the Taliban insisted that they have changed. They said that they will respect women and not seek to take revenge on enemies or Afghans who aided the US and UK soldiers - a stark contrast to when they previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001, where they forced a strict regime on citizens, severely restricted the rights of women and staging public executions.
(Writing by Jess Miller, Editing by Klaudia Fior)