Some Kabul residents cautiously ventured back to work through quiet streets on Tuesday, fearful after a night interrupted by the sound of gunfire and facing questions from their new Taliban rulers stationed at checkpoints. in the Afghan capital.
The Islamist movement, which prevented women from working and administered punishments such as public stoning during its previous 1996-2001 government, took over the country within days, amid the collapse of US-backed government forces.
Although the Taliban have promised that there will be no retaliation against their opponents and have vowed to respect the rights of women, minorities and foreigners, many Afghans are skeptical. But they also know that life must go on.
“I’m scared, but what made me open my shop was to feed my family,” Mohammadullah, a 48-year-old grocery merchant, told Reuters by phone. “I have no other way to earn an income. If I don’t open my store, how can I feed my family of 12?” He asked, adding that there were far fewer customers than usual.
Most stores and supermarkets in Kabul were closed, as were schools, according to residents. However, some small grocery stores and butchers were open, as were hospitals.
Traffic was light, but there were several white-flagged vans carrying armed Taliban.
“It was with the support of the nation that the Americans failed here and the Islamic system was established,” said Mawlavi Haq Dost, a Taliban commander on the street. “This is a legal system and we assure our people, whether they are Hazara, Tajik or Turkish (minorities), that there will be no harassment by the Mujahideen towards them.”
Asadullah Wardak, a doctor for 12 years, said he decided to return to work after staying home for two days. His children, who live in Canada, urged him to leave, but he chose to stay in Kabul, where he works as a gynecologist.
On the way to work at the Sana Medical Hospital, two Taliban went through his car and his identity card. She said they told her she was free to work and gave her phone numbers to call in case her hospital has a blood supply problem or medication shortage.
They also asked him to ensure that patients and doctors work separately, while doctors are only allowed to see female patients in the presence of another doctor, he said.
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