Taliban fighters have clashed with protesters in the city of Jalalabad after they removed the group’s flag from the main square and replaced it with the Afghan flag, three witnesses have told CNN.
According to the witnesses the protest was met with a violent response by the Taliban, who fired into the crowd and beat up some of the protesters.
Video and stills posted on social media also show crowds climbing on top of a monument with the flag. Other angles show protesters waving it on Jalalabad’s busy streets -- in some of the videos gunshots are heard as the Taliban try to dissipate the crowd.
I wanted to support the Afghan flag and stop the Taliban from desecrating the Afghan flag,” one protester said. “Then the shooting started and the Taliban surrounded me and threatened and beat me.”
Another protester said that despite the violent response, they will protest again “to prevent the Taliban from desecrating the Afghan flag.”
CNN has not been able to independently verify if there were any casualties. CNN was also unable to reach local officials to confirm any causalities.
The Taliban have not commented on the incident.
The protest, which was led by youths, included people of all ages.