Taliban members ride bumper cars at theme park after taking over Kabul

·4-min read

Members of the Taliban have been filmed enjoying amusement park rides after the militants took the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Video obtained by French news agency Medianevir Press shows members of the Taliban riding in bumper cars smiling. One of them has a rifle seated next to him as the men crash into each other playfully.

In a separate video, they ride a merry go round.

The scenes are in stark contrast to others currently facing Afghanistan as the Taliban seized control of the country and people fled airports in a panic.

Some people have even been filmed falling from planes after take-off such is their desperation to leave the country.

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At least seven people died in the chaos, including two who clung to the wheels of a C-17 and plunged to the tarmac as it flew away, and two others shot by US forces. Americans said the men were armed but there was no evidence that they were Taliban.

Across Afghanistan, the International Committee of the Red Cross said thousands had been wounded in the fighting. Security forces and politicians handed over their provinces and bases without a fight, likely believing the two-decade Western experiment to remake Afghanistan would not survival the resurgent Taliban. The last American troops had planned to withdraw at the end of the month.

“The world is following events in Afghanistan with a heavy heart and deep disquiet about what lies ahead,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

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Many fear the Taliban will reimpose the harsh interpretation of Islamic law that they relied on when they ran Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Back then, women were barred from attending school or working outside the home. They had to wear the all-encompassing burqa and be accompanied by a male relative whenever they went outside. The Taliban banned music, cut off the hands of thieves and stoned adulterers.

The Taliban have sought to present themselves as a more moderate force in recent years and say they won’t exact revenge, but many Afghans are skeptical of those promises.

Late Monday night, hundreds of people remained trapped between American forces trying to push them out of the airport and Taliban forces trying to keep them in, witnesses said. An Associated Press journalist also saw what appeared to be an airstrike target two vehicles near the airport.

Afghan people climb atop a plane as they wait at the Kabul airport in Kabul.
Afghan sit on a plane as they wait at the Kabul airport. Source: Getty Images

Earlier, more than 300 people were evacuated aboard a Turkish Airlines flight after Turkish soldiers cleared the runway.

Senol Celik, who identified himself as a Turkish Embassy employee, said people “threw themselves in front of the plane.”

“They wanted to board the plane. They wanted to escape Afghanistan,” he said.

“We were afraid that the plane would return and that we would enter that chaos. We were sad for those people.”

Afghan men stand next to the a torn poster of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Kabul airport in Kabul.
Afghan men stand next to the a torn poster of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Source: Getty Images

Shafi Arifi, 24, who had a ticket to travel to Uzbekistan on Sunday, was unable to board his plane because it was packed with people who raced across the tarmac and climbed aboard, with no police or airport staff in sight.

“There was no room for us to stand,” he said.

“Children were crying, women were shouting, young and old men were so angry and upset, no one could hear each other. There was no oxygen to breathe.”

After a woman fainted and was carried off the plane, Mr Arifi gave up and returned home.

Other Afghans, like Rakhmatula Kuyash, are also trying to leave through land border crossings, all of which are now controlled by the Taliban.

“I’m lost and I don’t know what to do,” Mr Kuyash, who crossed into Uzbekistan on Sunday after leaving his children and relatives in Afghanistan, said.

“I left everything behind.”

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