KABUL: Protest organisers cancelled rallies in Kabul on Thursday after the Taliban effectively banned demonstrations, warning violators “will face severe legal action”, reports AFP.
Earlier this week armed fighters dispersed hundreds of protesters in cities across Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul, Faizabad in the northeast and in Herat in the west, where two people were shot dead.
There was a noticeably stronger Taliban presence on the streets of Kabul on Thursday morning as armed fighters—including special forces in military fatigues—stood guard on street corners and manned checkpoints, according to AFP journalists. An organiser of a protest outside the Pakistan embassy—where gunmen sprayed shots into the air on Tuesday to disperse a rally—told AFP on Thursday it had been cancelled because of the overnight ban. At the site of another planned protest in the city, there were no signs of a demonstration.
A Taliban interim government, drawn exclusively from loyalist ranks, formally began work this week with established hardliners in all key posts and no women—despite previous promises of an inclusive administration for all Afghans.
Tuesday night’s announcement of the cabinet was a key step in the Taliban’s consolidation of power, following a stunning military victory that saw them oust the US-backed administration on August 15.
All the top positions were handed to key leaders from the movement and in particular the Haqqani network—the most violent Taliban faction, known for devastating attacks.
Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund—a senior minister during the notorious Taliban regime of 1996 to 2001 — was appointed interim prime minister.