Taliban fighters Thursday opened fire on a group of protesters celebrating Afghanistan’s independence day and waving the Afghan national flag in Kabul.
Afghans gathered in the streets to commemorate the anniversary of a 1919 treaty that gave the country independence from Great Britain and waved the Afghanistan national flag, only to be dispersed by gunfire from Taliban forces.
In the video obtained by Fox News, Afghans who were upset that the Taliban changed the national flag after taking over on Sunday took to the streets on foot and in cars waving the former national flag. Shots can be heard being fired by the Taliban and the crowd quickly disperses in panic.
“In many cities, the Taliban opened gunfire and charged and beat the people,” a source told Fox News, explaining that protesters were attacked by Taliban fighters across the country in similar fashion.
The source added that the Taliban had removed a large Afghan flag in Kabul and the protesters in the video were attempting to replace it but were driven back.
“May the Afghan flag fly forever,” the protesters could be heard chanting while others shouted, “Long live Ashraf Ghani” in reference to the now-deposed former president of Afghanistan, who fled the country as the Taliban took control.
“May Afghanistan live forever,” others chanted.
At least two people were reportedly killed in a similar protest in the country’s Kunar province after gunfire prompted a stampede.
U.S. forces are trying to evacuate thousands of American citizens and allies trapped in Kabul, where the Taliban has taken full control of the city with the sole exception of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, where 4,500 U.S. troops are currently occupying.
President Biden has authorized 6,000 U.S. troops to deploy to Afghanistan to assist in the evacuation mission, as the Taliban pushes to restore the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – the formal name of the country under the Taliban rule before the militants were ousted by U.S.-led forces in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, were orchestrated by Al Qaeda while it was being sheltered by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The president, adamantly standing by his initial decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Aug. 31, outlined the current mission for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, saying it will be “short in time, limited in scope and focused on our objectives: get our people and our allies as quickly and as safely as possible.”
By Andrew Mark Miller | Lucas Y. Tomlinson contributed to this report.
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