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Protests Rage Against Taliban In Afghan Cities

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Afghan Women To Be Banned From Playing Sport

Just three days after taking over the seat of power in Kabul, the Taliban leaders are faced with fast-growing opposition.

Many demonstrators took over Afghan cities on Thursday as the popular opposition to the Taliban spread across the Middle East nation.

A witness said several people were killed when the militants fired on a crowd in Asadabad in the east.

“Our flag, our identity,” a crowd of men and women waving black, red, and green national flags shouted in the capital Kabul, a video clip posted on social media showed, on the day Afghanistan celebrates independence from British control in 1919.

A witness reported gunshots fired near the rally, but they appeared to be armed Taliban shooting in the air.

One woman walked with an Afghan flag wrapped around her shoulders, and those marching chanted “God is greatest”. At some protests elsewhere, the media has reported people tearing down the white flag of the Taliban.

A Taliban spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Some of the demonstrations are small, but, combined with the ongoing scramble by thousands of people to get to Kabul airport and flee the country, they underline the challenge the Taliban face to govern the country.

The Islamist militant movement conquered Afghanistan at lightning speed as foreign troops withdrew, surprising even its leaders and leaving them to fill a power vacuum in many places.

Since seizing Kabul on Sunday, the Taliban have presented a more moderate face to the world, saying they want peace, will not take revenge against old enemies, and will respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law.

READ ALSO: I’ll Return To Afghanistan Soon – President Sacked By Taliban

During their previous rule from 1996-2001, they severely restricted women’s rights, staged public executions, and blew up ancient Buddhist statues.

In Asadabad, capital of the eastern province of Kunar, several people were killed during a rally, but it was not clear if the casualties resulted from Taliban firing or from a stampede that it triggered, witness Mohammed Salim said.

“Hundreds of people came out on the streets,” Mr Salim said. “At first I was scared and didn’t want to go but when I saw one of my neighbours joined in, I took out the flag I have at home.

“Several people were killed and injured in the stampede and firing by the Taliban.”

Protests also flared up in the city of Jalalabad and a district of Paktia province, both also in the east.

On Wednesday, Taliban fighters fired at protesters waving flags in Jalalabad, killing three, witnesses and media reported.

Media reported similar scenes in Asadabad and another eastern city, Khost, on Wednesday.

First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who is trying to rally opposition to the Taliban, expressed support for the protests.

“Salute those who carry the national flag and thus stand for the dignity of the nation,” he said on Twitter.

Mr Saleh said on Tuesday he was in Afghanistan and the “legitimate caretaker president” after President Ashraf Ghani fled as the Taliban took Kabul.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Ahmad Massoud, leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan based in the old anti-Taliban stronghold of the Panjshir Valley northeast of Kabul, called for Western support to fight the Taliban.

READ ALSO: How Fleeing Afghan President Abandoned Vehicles Filled With Cash

“I write from the Panjshir Valley today, ready to follow in my father’s footsteps, with mujahideen fighters who are prepared to once again take on the Taliban,” wrote Mr Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, a veteran guerrilla leader killed by suspected al Qaeda militants in 2001.

Other former Afghan leaders including ex-president Hamid Karzai have been holding talks with the Taliban as they put together a new government.

While Kabul has been generally calm since Taliban forces entered on Sunday, the airport has been in chaos as people rushed for a way out of the country.

Twelve people have been killed in and around the airport since then, a NATO and a Taliban official said. The deaths were caused either by gunshots or by stampedes, according to the Taliban official.

He urged people who do not have the legal right to travel to go home. “We don’t want to hurt anyone at the airport,” said the Taliban official, who declined to be identified.

In one scene captured on social media, a small girl was hoisted over the airport’s high perimeter wall and handed to a U.S. soldier standing guard, underlining the desperation many people felt.

On Wednesday, witnesses said Taliban gunmen prevented people from getting into the airport compound. A Taliban official said soldiers had fired into the air to disperse the crowd.

Gunmen unleashed sustained fire into the air on Thursday at several entrances to the airport, sending the crowds, including women clutching babies, scattering. It was not clear if the men firing were Taliban or security staff helping U.S. forces inside.

The United States and other Western powers pressed on with the evacuation of their nationals and some of their Afghan staff from the capital’s airport, from where about 8,000 people have been flown out since Sunday, a Western security official said.

Under a pact negotiated last year by former President Donald Trump’s administration, the United States agreed to withdraw its forces in exchange for a Taliban guarantee they would not let Afghanistan be used to launch terrorist attacks.

The Taliban also agreed not to attack foreign forces as they left.

U.S. President Joe Biden said U.S. forces would remain until the evacuation of Americans was finished, even if that meant staying past an August 31 U.S. deadline for withdrawal.

(Reuters/NAN)

 

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BREAKING: Coup In Sudan As Military Arrests Prime Minister, Others

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A coup is suspected to have taken place in Sudan as military forces have put Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok under house arrest.

According to Al Hadath TV, several members of the country’s civilian leadership have also been detained.

Citing unidentified sources, the Saudi-owned broadcaster said a military force besieged the prime minister’s home early on Monday before placing him under house arrest.

Other civilian officials taken into custody include Industry Minister Ibrahim al-Sheikh, and the governor of Sudan’s capital Khartoum, Ayman Khalid, family sources told Al Jazeera.

Information Minister Hamza Baloul, media adviser to the prime minister, Faisal Mohammed Saleh, and the spokesman for Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, were also arrested, according to officials who spoke to the Associated Press news agency.

Sudan has been on edge since a failed coup plot last month unleashed bitter recriminations between military and civilian groups meant to be sharing power following the toppling of the country’s long-time leader Omar al-Bashir.

READ ALSO: Sudan Coup Attempt Fails

Al-Bashir was toppled after months of street protests in 2019, and a political transition agreed after his removal was meant to lead to elections by the end of 2023.

Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Khartoum, said “telecommunications access has been restricted” in the country “so it’s very hard to communicate with people here”.

“The military has also blocked all roads and bridges leading into Khartoum city. We’ve seen soldiers blocking access and they are telling us these are the orders they got. They are saying access to Khartoum city is to be restricted, and this is raising concern because that’s where the government institutions are, that’s where the presidential palace and the prime minister’s offices are located.”

 

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Anti-apartheid Icon Desmond Tutu Is Not Dead

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Anti-apartheid Icon Desmond Tutu Dies At 90

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu is not  dead.

This is contrary to earlier reports that the  cleric passed away at the age of 90 today, October 20, 2021.

Tutu’s death  was reportedly earlier announced by the Bishop of Johannesburg, Stephen Moreo, via his official Twitter handle on Wednesday.

Moreo’s account stated, “ATTENTION. The Anglican Diocese of Johannesburg receives now the sad news of the death of our dearest Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

READ ALSO: Fully Vaccinated Colin Powell Dies Of COVID-19 Complications

“The Most Reverend Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu dies at 90. Official note to be released soon.”

Tutu was renowned for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. Between 1985 and 1986 he was the Bishop of Johannesburg from and then the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996. He was the first black African to hold both positions.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

 

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70-year-old Woman Gets First Child After IVF Treatment

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70-year-old Woman Gets First Child After IVF Treatment

An Indian woman has had her first child at the age of 70 after agreeing with her husband to undergo IVF treatment for the last time, making her one of the oldest first-time mothers in the world, the Daily Mail of UK reported.

Jivunben Rabari and her husband Maldhari, 75, proudly showed off their son – whose name they have not revealed – to reporters as they said he had been conceived through IVF.

Rabari told reporters she was 70, which would make her one of the oldest first mothers in the world. However, another Indian woman, Erramatti Mangayamma, is believed to be the oldest after having twin girls in September 2019 at the age of 74.

Rabari and Maldhari, from a small village called Mora in Gujurat, India, have been married for 45 years and have been trying unsuccessfully for a baby for decades.

They were able to have a child through IVF, which can be effective after menopause.

READ ALSO: Fully Vaccinated Colin Powell Dies Of COVID-19 Complications

The couple’s doctor Naresh Bhanushali said it was “one of the rarest cases I have ever seen.”

Dr Bhanushali said: “When they first came to us, we told them that they couldn’t have a child at such an old age, but they insisted. They said that many of their family members did it as well. This is one of the rarest cases I have ever seen.”

The chances of a woman in her 70s getting pregnant naturally are virtually zero due to most women going through the menopause between their late 40s and early 50s.

But the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) claims that any woman of any age can get pregnant with medical help provided that she has a ‘normal uterus’, even if she no longer has ovaries.

Medics use an egg donated by a much younger woman and it is fertilised outside of the body using a man’s sperm.

Eventually, the embryo is placed inside the woman’s womb in the hopes that she’ll become pregnant.

There have been several instances of women into their 60s and 70s having children through IVF in India.

Mangayamma is believed to be the oldest woman in the world to give birth after welcoming twins through IVF aged 74.

Mangayamma gave birth to twin girls in a ‘medical miracle’ on September 5, 2019, following IVF treatments involving a donor’s egg and her husband’s sperm.

The pensioner, of Andhra Pradesh state, revealed she was inspired to try for a baby after her 55-year-old neighbour conceived.

 

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