Taliban quell anti-Pakistan protest in Afghanistan's capital

Taliban resorted to aerial firing to disperse demonstrators who accused Pakistan of supporting Panjshir offensive.

Taliban quell anti-Pakistan protest in Afghanistan's capital

An anti-Pakistan demonstration in Afghanistan’s capital was forcefully quelled by the Taliban on Tuesday.

Gunshots echoed in Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood as the Taliban resorted to heavy aerial firing to disperse over 100 men and women chanting slogans against Pakistan, who they accused of aiding the Taliban in their push to capture the last holdout province of Panjshir.

The rally had moved along main roads in the area and was close to the Iranian Embassy when Taliban security personnel started aerial firing.

Panicked protesters were seen rushing for cover, with several people falling to the ground amid the scramble to safety.

No casualties, however, have been reported so far.

The Taliban seized Panjshir on Monday, which the last of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces not under their control, overpowering forces led by Ahmad Massoud, son of the famed anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud.

After Panjshir’s fall was confirmed, an anti-Taliban protest was staged in Mazar-e-Sharif, capital of the northern Balkh province, which was quickly followed by a counterrally in support of the Taliban and imposition of Islamic laws in Afghanistan.

Panjshir is facing a shortage of food and essential supplies, while electricity, phone, and internet services have been disrupted in the region.

A destroyed tank and several burned and damaged Humvees indicated that there had been exchange of heavy artillery fire between the Taliban and the Panjshir resistance.

The whereabouts of the group’s leader Massoud, along with Amrullah Saleh and Bismillah Mohammadi, who were the first vice president and defense minister in the Ashraf Ghani government, remain unknown.

Massoud released an audio message on Monday afternoon, declaring that the resistance against the Taliban will continue as “no force can defeat the people’s will.”

According to Massoud, some members of his family were killed in clashes with the Taliban in Panjshir on Sunday.

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Hüseyin Demir

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