Taliban fighters parade through Maymana in show of strength to quell unrest

Jan 17, 2022: A few days after reinforcements were sent to quell unrest over the capture of a popular commander, Taliban fighters paraded in the northwestern Afghan city in a show of strength over the weekend.

Protests erupted last week in Maymana, the capital of Faryab province, after an Uzbek Taliban commander was detained on suspicion of involvement in a kidnapping plot. The unrest has sparked fears of tensions between Uzbek and Pashtun civilians and Taliban fighters, with unconfirmed reports that members of both ethnic groups have been killed in isolated clashes.

“We have deployed hundreds of troops from neighboring provinces and the situation is now under control,” Latifullah Hakimi, a senior defense ministry official, told AFP over the weekend.

Sunday’s parade included columns of masked fighters clad in matching white shalwar kameez tunics, khaki combat vests, and headscarves inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith.

The show of strength comes at a time when Afghanistan’s new rulers are struggling to rule the country on the brink of economic collapse, with the United Nations estimating that more than half the population is facing severe hunger.

Discipline between rank and file – especially in remote areas – is becoming an issue, as local commanders are either ignoring Kabul’s orders or carrying out custom orders.

“We had a military parade in the city to assure the people that we will not let anyone interrupt security,” said Jaweed, a Maymana commander who like many goes by only one name.

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