A video has surfaced showing the Taliban flying a US-left military helicopter over Kandahar with a person hanging mid-air. While some reports claimed that it was a dead body dangling from the chopper, others said the person was alive and was using a safety harness while being hung.
The incident surfaced after US forces evacuated its last soldier from Afghanistan, ending the 20-year long war. It goes completely opposite to the Taliban's promises and assurances that they won't hurt anyone, like government officials, civilians and people who helped the United States but the situation on the ground appears to be totally different.
The Taliban took out 'victory' parades in Afghanistan after the last US troops left the country overnight. They paraded coffins draped in the UK, US, French, and NATO flags through the streets. Thousands of people waving Taliban flags turned out to watch after fireworks were let off in Kabul.
Though American forces have pulled out of Afghanistan, hundreds of American and British citizens were left behind during the evacuation along with thousands of Afghans who had been promised sanctuary for helping western forces, who now fear for their lives.
The Taliban reveled in their victory after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, reiterating their pledge Tuesday to bring peace and security to the country after decades of war. Their anxious citizens, meanwhile, are waiting to see what the new order looks like.
Having humbled the world's most powerful military, the Taliban now face the challenge of governing a nation of 38 million people that relies heavily on international aid, and imposing some form of Islamic rule on a population that is far more educated and cosmopolitan than it was when the group last governed Afghanistan in the late 1990s.
Thousands who had worked with the US and its allies, as well as up to 200 Americans, remained in the country after the massive airlift ended with the last US soldiers flying out of Kabul international airport just before midnight Monday.
Hours later, turbaned Taliban leaders flanked by fighters from the group's elite Badri unit toured the abandoned airport and posed for photos.
"Afghanistan is finally free," Hekmatullah Wasiq, a top Taliban official, told The Associated Press on the tarmac. "Everything is peaceful. Everything is safe."
He urged people to return to work and reiterated the Taliban's offer of amnesty to all Afghans who had fought against the group over the last 20 years.
“People have to be patient,” he said. “Slowly we will get everything back to normal. It will take time.”
A long-running economic crisis has worsened since the Taliban's rapid takeover of the country in mid-August, with people crowding banks to maximize their daily withdrawal limit of about USD 200. Civil servants haven't been paid in months and the local currency is losing value. Most of Afghanistan's foreign reserves are held abroad and are currently frozen.
“We keep coming to work but we are not getting paid,” said Abdul Maqsood, a traffic police officer on duty near the airport. He said he hasn't received his salary in four months.
A major drought threatens the food supply, and thousands who fled during the Taliban's lightning advance remain in squalid camps.
“Afghanistan is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe,” said Ramiz Alakbarov, the local UN humanitarian coordinator. He said USD 1.3 billion is needed for aid efforts, only 39% of which has been received.
The challenges the Taliban face in reviving the economy could give Western nations leverage as they push the group to fulfill a pledge to allow free travel, form an inclusive government and guarantee women's rights. The Taliban say they want to have good relations with other countries, including the United States.
There are few signs of the draconian restrictions the Taliban imposed last time they were in power. Schools have reopened to boys and girls, though Taliban officials have said they will study separately.
Women are out on the streets wearing Islamic headscarves — as they always have — rather than the all-encompassing burqa the Taliban required in the past.
“I am not afraid of the Taliban,” said Masooda, a fifth-grader, as she headed to school on Tuesday.
When the Taliban last ruled the country, from 1996 to 2001, they banned television, music and even photography, but there's no sign of that yet.
TV stations are still operating normally and the Taliban fighters themselves can be seen taking selfies around Kabul.
On Tuesday, the sound of dance music trickled out of an upscale wedding hall in Kabul, where a celebration was in full swing inside.
Shadab Azimi, the 26-year-old manager, said at least seven wedding parties had been held since the Taliban takeover, with festivities moved to daytime because of security concerns.
He said the Taliban have yet to announce any restrictions on music, but that wedding singers have cancelled out of caution, forcing him to use tapes.