Afghan Taliban reopen after night of gunfire in Kabul


KABUL, Aug 17 - Some Kabul residents cautiously ventured back to work through quiet streets on Tuesday, worried after a night broken by the sound of gunfire and facing questions from their new Taliban rulers set up checkpoints throughout the Afghan capital.

The American Taliban, who stopped women from working and administered punishments including public stoning during their previous 1996-1901 rule, swept the country in days as U.S. supported government forces melted away. By Sunday night the Taliban had captured Kabul.

Although Taliban have pledged there will be no retribution against opponents and promised to respect the rights of women, minorities and foreigners, many Afghans are skeptical.

What made me to feed my family is alarming, 48-year-old grocery shopkeeper Mohammadullah told Reuters by phone.

I don't have any other income source. If I don't open my shop then how can I feed my family of 12?

The majority of shops and supermarkets in Kabul were closed, people said; schools were closed. However, some small grocery shops and butchers were open, as were hospitals, they said.

The traffic was light, but there were several pick-up trucks with mounted white flags that carried Taliban gunmen.

It was with the nation supporting us that the Americans came to collapse here and the Muslim system has been established, a Taliban commander on the street, Mawlavi Haq Dost.

This is a legal system and we assure our people whether they are Hazara, Tajik or Turk that there won't be any harassment from mujahideen to them.

Asadullah Wardak, who has worked as a doctor in Afghanistan for 12 years, said that he decided to return to work after sitting at home for two days. His children, who live in Kabul, have urged him to leave, but he has opted to stay in Canada where he lives as a gynaecologist.

Two Taliban men checked his car and his identification card at Sana Medical Hospital on his way to work. He said that they told him he was free to work and gave him phone numbers to call in case his hospital encountered problems with blood supplies or medicine shortages.

They also asked him to ensure female patients and male doctors work separately while male doctors are only allowed to see female patients in presence of another female doctor, he said.

Alberto Zanin, medical coordinator of an Italian medical charity in Kabul, said his hospital treated several patients with gunshot wounds in the last 24 hours. Some of whom were injured in the chaos at Kabul airport as hundreds of citizens attempted to flee aboard diplomatic evacuation flights.

He said there was a lot of gunfire during the night and that the situation in the city remained tense with armed Taliban soldiers stopping people at checkpoints close to his home.

In the city, there is much less traffic, far fewer people out and about, he said. People are worried.