Deadly protests reported in Jalalabad over Afghan flag
At least three people have been reportedly killed and a dozen others wounded after shots fired at protest against removal of Afghan flag by Taliban in the eastern city of Jalalabad.
Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from Kabul, said that “a fairly sizable part” of Jalalabad’s residents were resisting the replacement of Afghanistan’s national flag in the city by the Taliban banner.
“We have seen uploaded on social media, protests in the streets of hundreds if not thousands of people waving the national flag,” he said.
“We know that they have put the flag back up again in an important square in Jalalabad and that there have been clashes with the Taliban …”
Meanwhile, planes carrying hundreds of evacuees from Kabul have arrived in the United Kingdom and Germany as Western nations stepped up evacuation efforts and the Taliban promised women’s rights, media freedom and amnesty for government officials in Afghanistan.
The United States said its military flights had evacuated 3,200 people from Kabul so far, including 1,100 on Tuesday alone.
In Kabul, the Taliban sought to strike a conciliatory tone at its first press conference since its lightning seizure of the Afghan capital, promising to respect the rights of women “within the framework of Islam” and expressing a desire for peaceful relations with other countries.
The Netherlands has managed to get 35 of its citizens out of Afghanistan in a slow start to its evacuation operation amid chaos outside Kabul airport, Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld says.
The 35 Dutch were flown to Tbilisi in Georgia along with 16 Belgians, two Germans and two British citizens, Bijleveld said, on a Boeing C-17 plane operated jointly by NATO countries.
Anti Taliban protests
Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis, reporting from Kabul, says that the anti-Taliban protests have expanded beyond Jalalabad to several other provinces.
“People are very upset that the national flag was taken down and that the Taliban flag has been raised,” said Bellis.
She added: “That isn’t the only flashpoint in Afghanistan today. There is ongoing chaos at the airport where the Taliban is still trying to hold people off from reaching the airport, breaching the security perimeter and having a repeat of what happened on Monday when thousands of people made their way onto the tarmac and disrupted evacuation flights.”
The EU, US and 18 other countries issue a joint statement, saying they were “deeply worried about Afghan women and girls” and urging the Taliban to ensure their safety. - Agencies