Videos of Taliban fighters having 'fun' at amusement park and gym leave internet confused
A day after taking control of Kabul, Taliban fighters were seen enjoying rides — some of them with assault weapons in their hands — at amusement parks in viral videos.
In two videos shared by Hamid Shalizi, a Reuters reporter based in Kabul, Taliban fighters were seen laughing and driving electric bumper cars around the amusement park
Update: the Taliban has now taken over the bumper cars. pic.twitter.com/lbYTFEY3le— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) August 16, 2021
In another, Taliban fighters were also seen riding play horses. More footage put on Twitter by freelance journalist Asaad Hanna shows purported Taliban soldiers bouncing on a trampoline in glee. Taliban soldiers were also seen working out at the abandoned presidential palace gym, in another video.
These bizarre videos come in stark contrast to the grim scenes of desperation and panic prevailing in the war-torn country. Heartbreaking videos on social media show scenes of thousands of people flooding the airport premises and even clinging on to planes in a desperate bid to get out.
There are also distressing visuals showing some Afghans falling from a plane midair after they had tied themselves to the wheels of the aircraft to escape the country.
First the Taliban's on swings video, now this. Is this some sort of strange Taliban PR campaing to make them look more fun? 😂 https://t.co/gLr8tNRe10— Gissur Simonarson 🇮🇸🇺🇸🇳🇴🏴 (@GissiSim) July 19, 2021
"Locals near Kabul airport claim that three young men who were holding themselves tightly on to the tires of an airplane fell on top of people's houses. One of the locals confirmed this and said that the fall of these people made a loud and terrifying noise," local news agency Asvaka tweeted.
I don’t think, despite how terrible they are at using gym equipment, I’m ready to laugh at anything the Taliban are doing.— Jo Pellereau 👩🏼🔬 (@PhysicsJo) August 17, 2021
These videos attempt to ‘normalise’ them, and that’s not ok. We cannot let their treatment of women etc. be ignored because they do something funny. Sorry.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has been slammed for fleeing the country within hours of the Taliban's entering the capital. The Russian embassy in Kabul has claimed that Ghani took four cars and a helicopter full of cash with him.
“Four cars were full of money, they tried to stuff another part of the money into a helicopter, but not all of it fit. And some of the money was left lying on the tarmac,” Nikita Ishchenko, a spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Kabul, told Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti. Ischenko cited "witnesses" as the source of his information.
While Ghani's current whereabouts are unknown, certain media reports claim he is in Oman after Tajikistan denied landing. He will most likely travel to the US from Oman, reports said.