Inside Kabul: What is life like so far under Taliban rule?

As Europe struggles to get its Afghan diplomats and allies out of Kabul, some in the capital have begun to witness a return to normalcy.

“At first, when the Taliban entered Kabul, people panicked,” said Afghan journalist Fazel Qazizai, who has years of experience covering Taliban movements in the country. “They didn’t know how the Taliban would treat them, so they were right.” Be worried. But gradually they returned to normal. The Taliban are friendly with everyone. “

Qazizai, co-author of Nightly Letters: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Afghan Islamists Who Changed the World, He said the scenes that unfolded shortly after the group took over the capital were strange even to him.

“People were posing for selfies with them (the Taliban), trying to chat with them, trying to make jokes and have fun with them … I think that’s the new strategy of the Taliban, not to harass or bother with any topic,” said. He said.

Qazizai also said that, for now at least, fears regarding women’s rights have not materialized.

“They were not forced to use [the] burqa, they were not forced to date a man … they were not forced to take a special seat in a taxi, “he said.” So, for now, nothing like that happens.

“On top of that, the Taliban seem to be fine with music, I’m not saying they’ll be fine forever, but at this point I saw some kids playing music in a car.

“One of my sisters is a doctor and my other sister is a teacher and they are both concerned about what the Taliban’s strategy will be for us. But you know that in the female world they got in touch with other women who were already working in areas controlled by the Taliban and I think they are now optimistic that they will be allowed to work. “

But in the Afghan city of Jalalabad, Taliban fighters fired at crowds of protesters. There were also reports of demonstrations in the city of Khost, in the southeast of the country.

With most public services down, and banks and the main foreign exchange market still closed, life in Afghanistan will become even more difficult, according to Qazizai.

“When banks close the rates of [the] dollar are quite high, so now $ 1 is more than 90 afs. And that has a direct impact on food, gasoline, oil and other things. “

Qazizai, asked if he thought the Taliban were capable of ruling, added: “Before the Taliban captured Kabul, I went to the Taliban-controlled areas and they were able to lead the police, different judicial offices, they were able to do investigations and justice, everything. for themselves.

“Right now, a special commission is working house to house and they are trying to collect government vehicles and weapons.

“One thing is clear: they cannot handle everything by themselves. There cannot be a totalitarian system that is administered by them. If they do, there will be big problems and a shortage of issues and many things that they will need.” out of Afghanistan. “

Qazizai told Euronews that although he and his family plan to leave the country, he will stay, at least for now.

“The concern that the West had was the same concern that we had in Kabul before the Taliban captured Kabul. He was worried about a brutal war, about his unfair treatment of [the] Taliban, on how the Taliban might be chasing people. We even decide where to go as refugees.

“So all the concerns that the West had, we had. But when the Taliban came, they came with a different news strategy that is great and is good news for us and for the world.”

“But I am not sure that this strategy will last longer.

“If this strategy holds for longer and even forever, that’s great, it’s good news for everyone.

“But is this just a technique to win the hearts and minds of Afghans and when they are stable they will change? I am talking about today.”

Meanwhile, there were reports of chaos outside Kabul’s international airport on Wednesday as thousands of people tried to enter in hopes of leaving the country, and hundreds were seen camping near the French embassy.

Many in Afghanistan believe that the Taliban may have changed form, but not substance, and fear for their lives under the group’s rule.

But Qazizai says he is cautiously optimistic.

“Now the Taliban have come in force,” he said. “They came with all the power. They defeated everyone. If they wanted to announce their totalitarian regime or an Islamic emirate, there would be no one to stop them.

“If they deliver on their Doha promises, and if they actually negotiate a new government, and if they give other Afghans the opportunity to speak and participate, we will have a chance for a good future and good governance and good days.”

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