On their first day in control of Kabul, Taliban fighters commandeered streets and searched the homes and offices of government officials and media outlets, spreading fear and menace across the Afghan capital.
Armed militants erected checkpoints throughout the city of six million people, imposed a 9 p.m. curfew and took over army and police posts. Fighters, many grinning in victory, rode through the streets in captured U.S. and Afghan military vehicles flying the Taliban’s white flag.
Turban-clad insurgents searched the phones of passersby for evidence of government contacts or compromising material they might deem un-Islamic. Bridal dress advertisements that showed women with exposed strands of hair were covered in fresh white paint. Stores were shut across the city.
On video footage shared over social media, chuckling Taliban fighters sauntered around the parliament building on the city’s outskirts.
Rozina, an Afghan-Canadian woman visiting Kabul with her Afghan husband, said Taliban fighters came to their hotel Monday morning while she was in a back garden. Frightened, she ran upstairs to their room. Minutes later, Taliban fighters came inside with the hotel manager, who persuaded her to come out of the bathroom where she had hidden.