In the eastern city of Jalalabad, locals went public with their dissent in a rare protest: They took down the Taliban flag that had been raised by the militants upon seizing control of the area. In its place they raised the national flag, a move made a day before Thursday's national Independence Day, which marks the 1919 end of British rule. It wasn't well received. The AP reports video footage shows the Taliban responded Wednesday by breaking up the crowd by firing into the air and using batons on people. Sources tell Reuters three people died as a result, and at least a dozen more were injured.
- Context. From the AP: "The Taliban's every action in their sudden sweep to power is being watched closely. They insist they have changed and won't impose the same draconian restrictions they did when they last ruled Afghanistan, all but eliminating women's rights, carrying out public executions, and harboring al-Qaeda in the years before the 9/11 attacks. But many Afghans remain deeply skeptical, and the violent response to Wednesday's protest could only fuel their fears."
- From a protestor. CNN has this quote: "I wanted to support the Afghan flag and stop the Taliban from desecrating the Afghan flag. Then the shooting started and the Taliban surrounded me and threatened and beat me."
- Meanwhile. The United Arab Emirates confirmed Wednesday that it has welcomed former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his family, who exited Afghanistan on Sunday, on "humanitarian grounds."
(Read more Taliban