Desperation, depression marks first day of Taliban rule in Afghanistan

·3-min read
Armed Taliban manning the streets of Kabul. (Photo Credit - Reuters)
Armed Taliban manning the streets of Kabul. (Photo Credit - Reuters)

Kabul [Afghanistan], September 2 (ANI): Kabul -- a vibrant city where streets were once clogged with cars and rusty bikes, beggars and blaring music, and the smells of spices and sizzling meat, turned to desperation and depression on the first day of Taliban rule in Afghanistan on Wednesday, a shadow of that dynamic place.

Hollie McKay, writing in New York Post said that only a few women dare to step into the sunshine -- and if they do, they are almost always completely covered in a blue burqa.

Men too are relegated to hiding in their homes, with the majority of the foot traffic either Taliban themselves or workers trying to make ends meet. Banks have reopened, although families are limited to taking out no more than USD 200 per week, and lines snake around the block, said McKay.

"There is a lot of broken glass and things destroyed," observed one young former store owner, Sabur, who had to shutter his shop the moment the insurgent power swept through. "The Taliban is everywhere. I think some don't realize that when you fire up, the bullets come down -- and break things."

"People have no choice but to come out and earn something to feed their families. But it is women who are most vulnerable and affected by this situation. So they don't go out unless it is an emergency," my friend Zia said from his Kabul home. "There is some traffic, but not like before -- everyone is terrified."

Zia said the Taliban -- specifically the Haqqani-affiliated element controlling roads near the airport -- have begun checking people's phones for banned content like music and movies and "maybe to capture those who are against them."

"It's much quieter now. About 50 per cent of the shops are open, about 30 per cent are closed, and the remaining 20 per cent have signs announcing they are available for rent."

When he peeks from his window, Zia mostly sees the young fighters "rolling around with guns, long beards and informal clothes," describing the scene as a horror film with an expected plotline, reported New York Post.

"Most people are hiding; it is only the Taliban who is out showing off their weapons and smiling," he explains. "The schools and universities are all closed. The music stores have all been destroyed, and everyone is afraid even to play music in their homes," said a young teacher named Saif.

Saif worries that with the dire economic situation, the street Talibs will eventually turn to extortion and shaking money out of civilians to pay their way, said McKay.

"If you go out in Western clothes like jeans, they will flog you," he says. "But it is only a matter of time before they start giving people citations for whatever they can. The Afghan people left are already struggling, the poorest people."

That anxiety over the unknown grips much of the capital as it enters its new phase of governance, said Mckay.

Ghulam -- a businessman with painful memories of the Taliban's last rule -- says he is overcome with sickness and the feeling of being weak in a city where he once felt so free and strong, reported New York Post. (ANI)

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