The Taliban are moving to stamp their authority on Afghanistan using every tool at their disposal including flags after two decades out of power . Rolling into Kabul a week ago, the white banner of the Islamist militants has become a common sight across the country, replacing the national tricolour flag above government buildings, police stations and military facilities.
There have been reports of people being castigated or even punished for waving the old national banner, but so far there is no official word from the group on the flag issue.
At a Kabul roadside on Sunday, vendors were making a quick sale in Taliban flags a white banner bearing the Muslim proclamation of faith and the regime’s formal name: “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”.
“Our goal is to spread the flag of the Islamic Emirate throughout Afghanistan, instead of the tricolour flag,” said vendor Ahmad Shakib, who studies economics at university.
The sight of Taliban fighters in vehicles bearing the standard has terrorised people across Afghanistan in recent weeks as the militants first captured vast swathes of the rural hinterland and then all the major cities.The group was quick to replace the Afghan national flag wherever it could.
Social media has been awash with images and emojis of the old flag a black, red and green vertical tricolour with the national emblem overlaid in white posted by public figures
On Afghanistan’s independence day last week, groups of people waved the national flag in Kabul and a handful of suburbs to celebrat sometimes in plain sight of patrolling Taliban.
One Jalalabad resident said, “My heart is here for this flag I will never leave this flag,” said.”Kill us, fire at us… We will never leave this flag.”
People on a convoy of honking cars waved national flags in Kabul. At another spot, men and women stood by the roadside holding the tricolor banner.
According to local media day earlier, Taliban fighters fired guns to disperse dozens in the eastern city of Jalalabad who were protesting over the removal of the national flag.