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In Pictures: Taliban fighters man Afghanistan’s urban checkpoints
Taliban members change roles, from fighting in the mountains and the fields to becoming a force running their country.
A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
By Associated Press
9 Dec 2021
Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan more than three and a half months ago amid the chaotic withdrawal of the United States-led foreign forces, its members have changed roles, from fighting in the mountains and fields to becoming an armed force running the country.
Many Taliban foot soldiers now have new jobs: manning checkpoints on the streets and carrying out security patrols in and around Afghan cities and towns.
Last month, several Taliban fighters posed for portrait photographs for The Associated Press news agency on nighttime patrols and at checkpoints in the western city of Herat.
One of them, 21-year-old Ahmad Wali, was on patrol in the village of Kamar Kalagh, north of Herat. A student in an Islamic religious school known as a “madrassa”, he said he joined the Taliban because he was against the American presence in his country and against the previous Afghan government, which was widely criticised for corruption.
Now, he said, he is very busy with his new responsibilities of providing security in the area he was assigned to. He hopes both he and his country will have a bright future, and said he was “99 percent sure” better days will come for all people in Afghanistan.
After the Taliban takeover in mid-August, Afghanistan’s already dilapidated and aid-dependent economy careened into a full-blown crisis. The international community has withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in financing that the country of 38 million people relied on. Billions of dollars in Afghan assets abroad have been frozen.
Afghanistan’s banking system has been largely cut off from the world, and the new Taliban rulers have been largely unable to pay salaries, while jobs across the economy have disappeared.
Women have been mostly barred from the job market, except in certain professions, and from high school education, while tens of thousands of people, including highly educated professionals, have fled or are trying to flee Afghanistan, leading to a massive brain drain.
Here are some portraits of Taliban fighters who posed for photos at various checkpoints in the western city of Herat, the third largest in Afghanistan.
A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
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A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
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A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
A portrait from Herat [Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo]
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