In a horrifying development Taliban fighters reportedly open fired at a group of protesters, killing three, including one journalist, and injuring several, in Jalalabad city. The incident, captured in a video clip, took place on Wednesday afternoon in Jalalabad city where a group of protesters were demanding the Afghan national flag back in their offices, rejecting the Taliban flag.
According to local news agency Pajhwok Afghan News, the Taliban fighters, without giving any warning started firing at the crowd that resulted in a near stampede as people started running to take cover. Civilians were reportedly also beaten and tortured on the streets.
At least three videos were shared on social media that shows hundreds of people taking out a march carrying Afghanistan's flag. This was the first major protest after the Taliban took seize of the country's capital, Kabul, on Sunday. Some of the protesters also were seen replacing the Taliban flag with red, black and green flag.
Their demand was to replace the Taliban flag with the Afghanistan's national flag. In no time, Taliban fighters, who were close by, came and open fired at the crowd. Gunshots could be heard in the background of the video as the protesters dispersed from the area in panic.
The video was first shared by Najeeb Nangyal, Afghanistan HPC Director of External Relations. "Taliban firing on protesters in Jalalabad city and beaten some video journalists," read the caption of one of the videos.
The shots targeted at the protesters killed three people. One among them was an Afghan journalist Initial reports claim that two people died in the firing, while eight were seriously wounded.
The Taliban fighters reportedly also started beating the protesters with the butt of their guns and even kicked them.
In the videos, also the helpless screams of the protesters can be heard. The firing comes as unprecedented talks started in Kabul between the Taliban and former president Hamid Karzai and other leaders amid speculation of a "unity government".
Earlier in the day, a group of Afghan women was seen taking out the first public protest in Afghanistan demanding their rights. In videos shared on social media, the women could be heard demanding their rights, including social security, right to work, right to education and right to political participation.
However, the women weren't hurt or their protest too wasn't silenced, according to reports. These protests mark the first sign of rebellion against the Taliban ever since the militant group took control of Afghanistan on Sunday. Many Afghans have since fled the country, while thousands are still waiting to board a flight out of Kabul airport.
Although the Taliban has tried to project a softer image this time, announcing a general amnesty and calling women to join their work in the government, the memories of public flogging, execution and stoning for adultery during their rule between 1996 and 2001 is still strong.