Several killed as Taliban open ‘fire’ at Independence Day rally
Taliban allegedly shot dead several people in the Afghan city of Asadabad, capital of Kunar province, on the country’s Independence Day on Thursday, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The people of Afghanistan celebrate their country’s independence from the British every year on Aug. 19.
As per the eyewitnesses’ accounts, the Taliban opened fire at the participants of a rally, taken out in connection with the country’s Independence Day, when they hoisted the national flag of Afghanistan.
However, according to one of the eyewitnesses, Muhammad Salim, although several people were killed but it was not clear whether the casualties were the direct result of firing or they were caused by the stampede that it triggered.
"Hundreds of people came out on the streets," Salim said, and added at first he was scared and didn't want to go but when he saw one of his neighbours joining in, he too joined in the rally.
Protesters also took to the streets of the eastern city of Jalalabad and a district of Paktia province.
On Wednesday, Taliban fighters had fired at flag-waving protesters in Jalalabad, killing three, witnesses and media said.
In some places, protesters tore down white Taliban flags, according to media. Media had reported similar scenes in Asadabad and another eastern city, Khost, on Wednesday.
The incident is being termed as the first instance of popular opposition to the militants since they took control of the capital, Kabul last Sunday.
"Our flag our identity," a crowd of men and some women waving black, red and green national flags shouted in Kabul.
A Taliban spokesman was not immediately available for comment.