Taliban Appear to Fire Into Crowd Of Protesters Waving Afghanistan Flag in Video

The Taliban opened fire on a crowd of protesters in Afghanistan on Wednesday, reportedly killing at least one person.

Videos shared on social media showed a group of people waving the tricolor flag of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in a crowded street in the eastern city of Jalalabad, days after the Taliban toppled the government and regained power in the country.

Taliban fighters appeared to initially fire into the air to disperse the crowd, according to the videos posted online. But when that did not work, they resorted to violence and attacked people in the streets with batons.

At least one person was killed and six others were wounded, The Associated Press reported, citing a local health official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Babrak Amirzada, a reporter for a local news agency, told the AP that he and a TV cameraman from another agency were beaten by members of the Taliban as they tried to cover the unrest.

Two Afghans killed and over 10 injured as Taliban fires at the crowd protesting against the Taliban flag and waving Afghan tricolour flag. Taliban terrorists in black can be seen running towards the crowd and firing at them mercilessly. pic.twitter.com/XxogdIeDxR

— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) August 18, 2021

According to the AP, dozens of people had gathered in Jalalabad to raise the national flag a day before Afghanistan's Independence Day, which celebrates the end of British rule in 1919.

The people had lowered the Taliban flag—a white banner that bears an Islamic inscription— which fighters from the group have raised in the places they captured over the past week.

Najeeb Nangyal, a former spokesperson for Afghanistan's Ministry of Interior Affairs, tweeted: "Protestors in Jalalabad city want the national flag back on offices & rejects Taliban terrorists' flag. Taliban openly fires at protestors."

While Unites States surrendered and escaped from Afghanistan in the dead of the night, here Afghan locals in Jalalabad without any weapons or support are showing what resistance and courage means. Afghans remove Taliban flag and wave Afghan tricolour in a protest against Taliban. pic.twitter.com/YIcqrFm6yf

— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) August 18, 2021

The violence comes after the Taliban on Tuesday vowed to respect women's rights and forgive those who fought them, part of an effort to convince the world it has changed from the group that brutally ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s.

But many Afghans remain skeptical, and thousands sought to flee when the Taliban regained power after capturing major cities without much of a fight in a matter of days.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday that the U.S. and other governments would not take the Taliban at their word.

"Like I've said all along, this is not about trust. This is about verify," Sullivan said at a White House briefing. "And we'll see what the Taliban end up doing in the days and weeks ahead, and when I say "we," I mean the entire international community."

Update 8/18, 10 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.

Taliban fighters in Jalalabad
Taliban fighters and local people are pictured along the street in Jalalabad province on August 15, 2021. AFP via Getty Images