“People need to express their anger, men and women, they must not stay silent,” one protester said.
Hundreds of Afghans, many of them women, protested in Kabul on Tuesday, chanting slogans against neighboring Pakistan and expressing support for rebels in the last part of the country resisting Taliban rule.
Video posted online showed protesters near the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul holding signs saying “#SanctionPakistan” and “#StandWithPanjshir.” Elsewhere on a street near the Iranian and Turkish embassies, video emerged of Taliban fighters firing into the air to disperse the protests.
Several journalists covering the demonstration were arrested, according to the Associated Press. In one case a reporter had their microphone taken by fighters waving Kalashnikov rifles, who then beat him with it and broke it, the AP reported.
Panjshir province, around 60 miles north of Kabul, has drawn resistance fighters from across Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power last month. Pakistan has been accused of assisting the Taliban.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A panicked crush of people trying to enter Kabul’s international airport killed seven Afghan civilians in the crowds, the British military said Sunday, showing the danger still posed to those trying to flee the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
The deaths come as a new, perceived threat from the Islamic State group affiliate in Afghanistan has seen U.S. military planes do rapid, diving combat landings at the airport surrounded by Taliban fighters. Other aircraft have shot off flares on takeoff, an effort to confuse possible heat-seeking missiles targeting the planes.
The changes come as the U.S. Embassy issued a new security warning Saturday telling citizens not to travel to the Kabul airport without individual instruction from a U.S. government representative. Officials declined to provide more specifics about the IS threat but described it as significant. They said there have been no confirmed attacks as yet by the militants, who have battled the Taliban in the past.
On Sunday, the British military acknowledged the seven deaths of civilians in the crowds in Kabul. There have been stampedes and crushing injuries in the crowds, especially as Taliban fighters fire into the air to drive away those desperate to get on any flight out of the country.
“Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
On Saturday, British and Western troops in full combat gear tried to control the crowds pressing in. They carried away some who were sweating and pale. With temperatures reaching 34 degree Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit), the soldiers sprayed water from a hose on those gathered or gave them bottled water to pour over their heads.
“Listen sir, you need to calm down,” one soldier told a man laying in the dirt, as another gave him an orange liquid. “Calm down.”
It wasn’t immediately clear whether those killed had been physically crushed, suffocated or suffered a fatal heart attack in the crowds. Soldiers covered several corpses in white clothes to hide them from view. Other troops stood atop concrete barriers or shipping containers, trying to calm the crowd. Gunshots occasionally rang out.
Speaking to an Iranian state television channel late Saturday night in a video call, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem blamed the deaths at the airport on the Americans in what quickly became a combative interview.
“The Americans announced that we would take you to America with us and people gathered at Kabul airport,” Naeem said. “If it was announced right now in any country in the world, would people not go?”
KABUL — The United States has launched several airstrikes in support of embattled Afghan forces in recent days, U.S. officials said Friday, an escalation in U.S. involvement in Afghanistan as the Taliban seizes more territory from government forces.
The airstrikes were conducted at the request of Afghan forces under attack by the Taliban or to destroy equipment stolen by the militants, including artillery and vehicles, according to the two U.S. officials.An Afghan military official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the situation, said the escalation of U.S. strikes has been “significant” compared to recent months, concentrated in the northern province of Kunduz and in Kandahar.
“Strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban,” Milley said.
For weeks, the Afghan military has bitterly fought to maintain control of provincial capitals after losing huge swaths of the country’s rural territory, often with little or no resistance. Militants have besieged the capitals by seizing districts nearby, choking off key roads in a bid to deny Afghan troops freedom of movement.
No provincial capitals have fallen, but Milley said the Taliban’s strategy has forced Afghan security forces to abandon some districts and reconsolidate to defend populated cities.