Days after the Taliban seized the Afghan capital, Kabul, demonstrations broke out in several cities in eastern Afghanistan. The videos show defiant citizens climbing monuments to replace the Taliban flag with the Afghan flag. The Taliban have fired shots to quell these protests. According to our observer, these protests are not necessarily against the Taliban, but rather represent the importance of the Afghan national flag for this region.
Videos posted on August 18, 2021 show Afghans protesting the Taliban flag in various cities in eastern Afghanistan, just one day before Afghanistan celebrated its independence day. Protests broke out in Jalalabad, the capital of the eastern Nangarhar province, and Asadabad, the capital of the Kunar province, also in the east.
In these videos, Afghans march through the streets of Jalalabad holding the national flag, chanting and cheering.
Yesterday, Khost and today Jalalabad: people protest asking the Taliban not to change the #AfghanFlag 🇦🇫.
One participant tells me that the Taliban shot them but there is no exact information about the victims. The Taliban have also said nothing. The Taliban have returned to a changed Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/iZQ7B7KKJc
– Bashir Ahmad Gwakh (@bashirgwakh) August 18, 2021 In this video posted on Twitter on August 18, 2021, protesters with the Afghan national flag walk through the streets of Jalalabad.
The protesters also climbed a monument in a square in eastern Jalalabad to raise the Afghan national flag.
– حسین اصغری ثانی (@Asghari_Sani) August 18, 2021 In a video posted on August 18 on Twitter, protesters climb a monument in eastern Jalalabad and raise the Afghan national flag.
The Taliban responded to these demonstrations with live bullets. In Jalalabad, three people were killed and a dozen more injured while trying to raise the Afghan flag, witnesses say. A video shows people running in the street as gunshots echo in the background.
– Najeeb Nangyal (@NajeebNangyal) August 18, 2021 A video posted to Twitter on August 18 shows a crowd of people running on a street in Jalalabad as gunshots are heard in the background.
Similar protests also took place in Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province, which was captured by the Taliban on August 14. Here, protesters climbed a monument in the city’s main square to replace the Taliban flag with the Afghan flag.
A video shows several people at the top of the monument with various Afghan flags as dozens of people cheer from below.
Street demonstrations in at least two Afghan cities, Jalalabad and Asadabad, where videos show protesters lowering the Taliban’s white flag and replacing it with the Afghan national flag. pic.twitter.com/Ec1ZfNKSbn
– Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) August 18, 2021 A video posted to Twitter on August 18 shows people scaling a monument in downtown Asadabad to raise the Afghan flag.
Several other videos have been released showing similar protests against the Taliban flag in Afghan cities.
The most recent version of the Afghan national flag, a black, red and green tricolor, was adopted in 2002, after the fall of the first Taliban regime. Afghanistan has used some form of the black, red, and green flag since 1928, except during the Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001.
The Taliban have been using their flag, which is white with the Islamic shahada, or profession of faith, written in black Arabic text, since 1997.
‘The Afghan flag has become a symbol in recent years’
According to our Observer, an Afghan journalist in Kabul, these flag-bearing protesters are not exactly protesting against the Taliban, but rather protesting the maintenance of a symbol of a common Afghan identity.
These protesters were not opposed to the Taliban regime in general. They were protesting against this tendency of the Taliban to remove the flag of Afghanistan and replace it with their flag. You can see that the Taliban, in most cases, have taken them down and replaced them with their own white flag.
The Taliban flag was raised over a building in Herat, after the Taliban took the city on August 13. © Social networks
Although the Afghan flag is only 20 years old, it has become a symbol in recent years. It is a symbol of unity and love for our motherland, which is why it has become increasingly important. In the last two decades, it has been celebrated in all national festivals and ceremonies; people are fond of him.
‘People are tired of war’
Another Afghan journalist told Jowharobservers that these protests show Afghans’ dedication to their culture and identity.
People are tired of war; some have welcomed the initiative of the Taliban to secure the country. But when the Taliban want to impose their beliefs and ideology and repress the Afghan national identity, people react badly.
Young people especially do not want to accept this. What they are doing to our flag is an insult to our national symbols. Today’s demonstration was a reaction to these insults.
The Taliban have been fighting to regain control of Afghanistan since the US invasion in 2001, causing thousands of civilian deaths each year.