Luptători talibani la un punct de trecere din Kabul. Foto: Profimedia Images

The Taliban want to win hearts in Kabul, but they fail to convince the Afghans.

Taliban fighters at a crossing point in Kabul. Photo: Profimedia Images

After 20 years of fighting, the Taliban are now trying to rebrand and present themselves to the world in a new, improved form. But Afghanistan’s new leaders have a problem closer to home: winning the hearts and trust of their own people, starting with those in the capital.

Since the group took control of Kabul on August 15, armed and battle-dressed Taliban have patrolled the streets of the city, apparently for no purpose. Many people in the city are not used to their sight, and their methods did not help them to be pleasant.

Ahmad, a professor in Kabul, was a child when the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan 20 years ago. He says he overcame the shock of seeing them on the street, but a few weeks after the city fell into their hands, he does not feel at peace with their presence.

“People in Kabul hate them ,” Ahmad told Reuters. Ahmad refused to give his family name for fear of revenge.  “You should see them, they are wild-looking people, dirty, uneducated, with long hair and dirty clothes. They have no manners at all ,  he added.

After 20 years of Western presence, Kabul no longer looks like it did during the previous Taliban rule.

Although it still has areas without running water or electricity, it has a vibrant and vibrant urban culture that bears no resemblance to the austere rural background of most Taliban fighters.

A fan of the FC Barcelona football team, Ahmad reluctantly let his beard grow and gave up the Western-style clothes he wore in exchange for a traditional dress, so as not to stand out when he reached a point of view. Taliban control.

Instead of Dari, the language spoken in Kabul, he makes sure to address any Taliban he meets in Pashtun, the language of the south and east, the areas where most of the fighters come from.

“They have never been to a city and many of them do not speak Dari. They hit people on the street with guns. People are very afraid of them , “Ahmad said.

The Taliban have vowed to establish order in Kabul

Taliban leaders say they want Kabul residents to feel safe. At the same time, they say they were surprised by the rapid collapse of the Western-backed government, and they suddenly found that they had to plan to lead a city of more than 5 million people.

The Taliban acknowledge that their fighters, most of whom have spent some years in the war, are not trained police officers, accustomed to coming into contact with the public.

The group says the new government will be different from the harsh Islamist administration that ruled the country between 1996 and 2001 and promised no arbitrary punishment, and patrols were ordered to treat people with respect.

“If there is a problem in any area, whether it is a thief, an aggressor or a gunman, let people know that we have made our contact details public ,  said Seyed Rahman Heydari, commander of a Taliban patrol in Kabul.

“Just let us know when there are such problems; we will treat them seriously and arrest the criminals “,  he added.

When they last came to power, the Taliban religious police beat people who broke the rules, and the group became internationally known for public executions and amputations.

Why Afghans do not trust the Taliban

But demonstrations in Kabul and the Taliban’s sometimes violent response to protesters have undermined confidence in the group’s promises to treat people with respect.

Heydari, the Taliban commander, said: ” People should have no fear. We are at their disposal day and night “ .

It’s a message most people don’t believe in.

Ayesha, a 22-year-old woman who worked for a media group before the fall of Kabul, said she had seen women beaten by the Taliban several times and would leave the house only when absolutely necessary.

“They are very dangerous people, they will beat women and insult them. I don’t care what their leaders say, they are completely wild. “

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