A thousand Taliban supporters gathered Sunday to show support for the new powers. It is known to be the first large-scale event at the Afghan capital Kabul since the fundamentalists captured the country with a lightning offensive a month and a half ago.
The crowd listened to speeches by prominent Taliban members in a large field north of the city. They were flanked by heavily armed fighters. There was also a parade where Taliban members marched past the crowds with flags and weapons, including rocket launchers.
The public had driven vehicles to the field. Spectators had brought homemade posters and scanned pro-Taliban slogans. Music sounded when the first people arrived. “America has been defeated. Impossible, impossible. Still possible,” read the lyrics of one of the songs.
Taliban opponents are increasingly showing themselves on the streets. The Muslim fundamentalists have acted hard on protesters following their takeover of power. They have also indicated that protests should only be made if the authorities have given prior permission to do so.
A handful of women still ventured out on the streets last week to demand that girls get back to high school. They showed a banner in Kabul saying: “Dont break our pens. Dont burn our books. Dont close our schools.” Taliban fighters took that banner and shot in the air. A foreign journalist hit with a gun.