Taliban mark Afghan independence as challenges to rule rise

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By AHMAD SEIR, RAHIM FAIEZ, KATHY GANNON AND JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban celebrated Afghanistan’s Independence Day connected Thursday by declaring they bushed the United States, but challenges to their regularisation ranging from moving a state severely abbreviated connected currency and bureaucrats to perchance facing an equipped absorption began to emerge.

With galore ATMs retired of currency and worries astir rising nutrient prices successful this federation of 38 cardinal radical reliant connected imports, the Taliban look each the challenges of the civilian authorities they dethroned without the level of planetary assistance it enjoyed. Meanwhile, absorption figures gathering successful the past country of the state not nether Taliban regularisation talked of launching an equipped absorption nether the banner of the Northern Alliance, which allied with the U.S. during the 2001 invasion.

Still, it was not wide however superior a menace they posed fixed that the militants overran astir the full state successful a substance of days with small absorption from Afghan forces. Many fearfulness the Taliban volition win successful erasing 2 decades of efforts to grow women's and quality rights successful Afghanistan and remake the country.

The Taliban truthful acold person offered nary specifics connected however they volition lead, different than to accidental they volition beryllium guided by Shariah, oregon Islamic, law. They are successful talks with elder officials of erstwhile Afghan governments. But they look an progressively precarious situation.

“A humanitarian situation of unthinkable proportions is unfolding earlier our eyes,” warned Mary Ellen McGroarty, the caput of the World Food Program successful Afghanistan. Beyond the difficulties of importing food, she said that drought has seen implicit 40% of the country’s harvest lost. Many who fled the Taliban beforehand present unrecorded successful parks and unfastened spaces successful Kabul.

“This is truly Afghanistan’s hr of top need, and we impulse the planetary assemblage to basal by the Afghan radical astatine this time,” she said.

At Kabul's planetary airport, subject evacuation flights continued, according to flight-tracking data. However, entree to the airdrome remained hard for those wanting to flee. On Thursday, Taliban militants fired into the aerial to effort to power the crowds gathered astatine the airport's blast walls, trying to get inside. Men, women and children fled.

Overnight, President Joe Biden said that helium was committed to keeping U.S. troops successful Afghanistan until each American is evacuated, adjacent if that means maintaining a subject beingness determination beyond his Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawal.

Thursday marked Afghanistan’s Independence Day, which commemorates the 1919 pact that ended British regularisation successful the cardinal Asian nation.

“Fortunately, contiguous we are celebrating the day of independency from Britain," the Taliban said. "We astatine the aforesaid clip arsenic a effect of our jihadi absorption forced different arrogant powerfulness of the world, the United States, to neglect and retreat from our beatified territory of Afghanistan.”

Unacknowledged by the insurgents, however, was their convulsive suppression of a protestation Wednesday successful the eastbound metropolis of Jalalabad, which saw demonstrators little the Taliban's emblem and regenerate it with Afghanistan's tricolor. At slightest 1 idiosyncratic was killed.

In Khost province, Taliban authorities instituted a 24-hour curfew aft violently breaking up a akin protest, according to accusation obtained by journalists monitoring from abroad. The militants did not instantly admit the objection oregon the curfew.

They person urged radical to instrumentality to work, but astir authorities officials stay successful hiding successful their homes oregon are attempting to fly the Taliban. Questions stay implicit Afghanistan's $9 cardinal successful overseas reserves, the immense bulk present seemingly frozen successful the U.S. The caput of the country’s Central Bank warned that the proviso of carnal U.S. dollars is “close to zero," which volition batter the currency, the afghani, and rise the prices of much-needed food.

“The afghani has been defended by virtually planeloads of US dollars landing successful Kabul connected a precise regular basis, sometimes weekly,” said Graeme Smith, a advisor researcher with the Overseas Development Institute. "If the Taliban don’t get currency infusions soon to support the afghani, I deliberation there’s a existent hazard of a currency devaluation that makes it hard to bargain breadstuff connected the streets of Kabul for mean people.”

Still, Smith, who has written a publication connected Afghanistan, said the Taliban apt won’t inquire for the aforesaid billions successful planetary assistance sought by the country’s fallen civilian authorities — ample portions of which were funneled disconnected by corruption.

“You’re overmuch much apt to spot the Taliban positioning themselves arsenic benignant of gatekeepers to the planetary assemblage arsenic opposed to coming begging for billions of dollars,” helium said.

That could bounds the powerfulness of the planetary community's menace of sanctions.

Hafiz Ahmad, a shopkeeper successful Kabul, said immoderate nutrient has flowed into the capital, but prices person gone up. He hesitated to walk those costs onto his customers but said helium had to.

“It is amended to person it,” helium said. "If determination were nothing, past that would beryllium adjacent worse.”

Two of Afghanistan's cardinal borderline crossings with Pakistan, Torkham adjacent Jalalabad and Chaman adjacent Spin Boldak, are present unfastened for trade. Hundreds of trucks person passed through, Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said. However, traders inactive fearfulness insecurity connected the roads and disorder implicit customs duties that could propulsion them to terms their goods higher.

Already, the Taliban are charging implicit $2,400 per motortruck coming crossed from Pakistan with scrap metal, said Abdul Nasir Reshtia, the main enforcement of the Afghan alloy accumulation factories association. President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the state and is present successful the United Arab Emirates, antecedently banned the scrap metallic commercialized to boost the country's alloy production.

There has been nary equipped absorption to the Taliban. But videos from the Panjshir Valley northbound of Kabul, a stronghold of the Northern Alliance militias that allied with the U.S. during the 2001 penetration of Afghanistan, look to amusement imaginable absorption figures gathering there. That country is successful the lone state that has not fallen to the Taliban.

Those figures see members of the deposed authorities — Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who asserted connected Twitter that helium is the country’s rightful president, and Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi — arsenic good arsenic Ahmad Massoud, the lad of the slain Northern Alliance person Ahmad Shah Massoud.

In an sentiment portion published by The Washington Post, Massoud asked for weapons and assistance to combat the Taliban.

“I constitute from the Panjshir Valley today, acceptable to travel successful my father’s footsteps, with mujahideen fighters who are prepared to erstwhile again instrumentality connected the Taliban,” helium wrote.

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Faiez reported from Istanbul, Gannon from Guelph, Canada, and Gambrell from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Tameem Akhgar successful Istanbul, Edith M. Lederer astatine the United Nations and Munir Ahmed successful Islamabad contributed to this report.

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