Taliban militants fired wildly at a protest a day after their spokesperson pledged ‘nobody will be harmed in Afghanistan’

A Taliban fighter
A Taliban fighter stands guard at a checkpoint in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.
  • The Taliban opened fire on a protest in Jalalabad, killing at least three, Reuters reported.
  • The Taliban also harassed people as they made their way to the airport in Kabul.
  • This came after a Taliban spokesperson vowed no one would be harmed in the country.
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The Taliban is breaking pledges it made to guarantee the safety and security of Afghans after regaining control of the country for the first time in 20 years on Sunday.

The militant group on Wednesday opened fire on a protest against its rule in the city of Jalalabad, in the country's east, killing at least three people and injuring more than a dozen, Reuters reported.

This came as the Taliban has sought to present itself as a moderate, changed group and vowed to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid at a press conference on Tuesday said, "I would like to assure the international community, including the United States, that nobody will be a harmed in Afghanistan."

"We don't want to repeat any conflict anymore again," Mujahid said. "The Islamic Emirate does not have any kind of hostility or animosity with anybody; animosities have come to an end and we would like to live peacefully. We don't want any internal enemies and any external enemies."

Mujahid said the Taliban was committed to ensuring security for Afghans and characterized the militant group as the "servants of the nation."

A day later, the Taliban fired wildly into a crowd in Jalalabad. The Taliban opened fire as protestors attempted to install Afghanistan's national flag at a square in the city, according to Reuters.

"There were some troublemakers who wanted to create issues for us," a Taliban militant in Jalalabad told Reuters. "These people are exploiting our relaxed policies."

The militants also beat protestors and journalists in the crowd, per the New York Times, though Mujahid on Tuesday said, "Private media can continue to be free and independent, they can continue their activities."

In Kabul, Taliban militants harassed Afghans at checkpoints as they sought to make their way to the airport. A photojournalist for the Los Angeles Times reported Taliban fighters attacked people waiting outside the airport, and fired into the crowd. A former interpreter for the Australian army was shot by a Taliban fighter while he was waiting in line to reach the airport gate. The ex-interpreter was taken to a hospital for treatment, the Washington Post reported.

A CNN reporter on Wednesday reported the Taliban fighters were whipping the crowd, firing into the air and even into the crowds, a scene she called "mayhem."

The militant group had previously pledged not to interfere with evacuations, and to allow safe passage for civilians who wanted to leave.

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