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Demonstrations spread across Afghanistan capital as the Taliban face growing challenges in running the nation

The Taliban face a challenge in running Afghanistan after protesters took to the streets across the country for a second day in a row.

Protesters took to the streets to rally against Taliban rule for the second day on Thursday, this time marching in Kabul, including near the presidential palace.

At one demonstration in the city, about 200 people had gathered before the Taliban broke it up violently.

The Taliban announced a curfew in the southeastern city of Khost, also on Thursday, after protests there. The authorities did not say how long it would be in effect.

And several people were killed in the eastern city of Asadabad when Taliban fighters fired on people waving the national flag at a rally there on Thursday, Afghanistan’s annual Independence Day, according to a witness cited by Reuters.

It was not clear whether the casualties had come from the gunshots or from a stampede they set off, the witness, Mohammed Salim, was quoted by the news agency as saying.

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It was a remarkable display of defiance, coming just one day after violence broke out at protests in two other cities, with Taliban members shooting into crowds and beating demonstrators.

It was also further evidence that while tens of thousands are now seeking escape, there were many more left behind and determined to have a voice in the kind of country in which they live.

After sweeping so quickly into power, the reality of governing a changed nation is proving as difficult for the Taliban as their military blitz across the nation’s provinces was fast.

Many critical workers are hiding in their homes, fearful of retribution despite promises of amnesty. And services like electricity, sanitation and clean water could soon be affected, aid agencies say.

While the Taliban, for now, have a monopoly on the use of force, there is no functioning police service in any traditional sense. Instead, former fighters are patrolling checkpoints and — in many cases, according to witness accounts — administering the law as they see fit.

The Taliban leadership’s suggestion this week that the brutality that defined their rule two decades ago was a thing of the past has not always been matched by the actions of the foot soldiers on the street.

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