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On The Scene

Christiane Amanpour: Sense of freedom as Kabul looks to future

(CNN) -- The Taliban withdrew from Afghanistan's capital of Kabul and people there are happy to be able to take up actitivities they were forced to give up for five years under Taliban rule. CNN Correspondent Christiane Amanpour reports on the mood and activities of people in Kabul.

AMANPOUR: "There is still obviously fighting and uncertainty going on in some parts of Afghanistan. Even in the north, the troops of the Taliban who retreated after certain towns had been conquered have moved toward a town called Konduz and there's been quite a lot of fighting between Northern Alliance and Taliban forces there.

"Here in Kabul, three days after it was freed from the Taliban, the situation is much different. There is calm. It is under control. People are out and about on the street. Basically, people telling us from all walks of life, whether men or women, that they feel a sense of liberation.

"They feel a sense of freedom, they said, which they had not had for the last five years of Taliban rule. Particularly, the women who told us they hope now that they would be able to go back to work. Forty percent of the Kabul work force was made up of women, and they want to go back and get the jobs that they were banned from under the Taliban.

"They also want education again for their girls. Girls have been unable to be educated in schools here for the last five years, which has put a big, big gap in the upbringing and the development of so many millions of girls in this country for the last five years.

"In small ways also, return to normality can be seen. In terms of television, which had been banned all throughout the regime of the Taliban, now today the Kabul television transmitter has been hoisted back onto a roof ready to begin broadcasting what they can and when they can.

"In other areas of this city there are other minorities. For instance, those who are ethnic Hindus and Sikhs, they, if you remember several months ago, had been ordered by the Taliban to put yellow insignia on their dress to single them out as minorities. The Taliban said at the time it was for security. But the Hindus and Sikhs said this was a form of discrimination, and they say they are relieved that the Taliban has left town.

"Another thing we've been hearing a lot of in the streets, and as soon as people know we are from an American organiztion, they've been coming up to us and saying, " We thank the United States because they have given us a chance at a new freedom." When I ask were they scared of the bombing, they say, "Well,not really." They say there were a few mis-hits and that they realized that throughout the many weeks of bombing -- it was all targeted at military targets. So they are expressing a lot of appreciation and they are hoping that this really does make a new beginning for them here in Afghanistan."


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