In Afghanistan, filled with a sense of invincibility, the Taliban seek to impose their authority on the streets

By Jacques Follorou

Posted today at 13:29, updated at 20:08

Resort for the inhabitants of Kabul, the lake of Qargha is a parenthesis of sweetness in a country harassed by war and geography. On the heights of the Afghan capital, this vast water reservoir has been transformed into a leisure center, with pedal boats, dinghies, swimming, minigolf, restaurants and rides. This Thursday, September 16, however, we only see the Taliban in search of relaxation or responsible for monitoring the place. Instead, residents will come the next day, a weekly rest day.

At the edge of the road which leads to this oasis untouched by the polluted air of Kabul, Saïd Khasul displays a wise man’s face which contrasts with the heavy machine gun placed in front of him on a low table and the special forces of the Badri 313 unit, armed arm of the Islamist network Haqqani who do not leave it with a sole. Known under the war name “Assadullah”, he is said to be one of the Taliban commanders who worked clandestinely in the capital.

A Taliban has fun after riding a bumper car, on the shores of Lake Qargha which is one of the main places of relaxation in Kabul, but deserted since the arrival of the Taliban who do not hesitate to go there. come, eat, ride a horse or participate in fairground attractions.  September 15.  Many Taliban come from rural villages and are discovering Kabul for the first time.

Dressed in a shalvar qamis (long shirt over baggy pants) and white turban and a little sleeveless vest as black as his eyes and beard, he said to himself “Very happy to be there, finally with your face uncovered, for twenty years people could not speak to us”. Besides, it didn’t take long to accept the conversation. “I joined the fight thirteen years ago and I served in prison, my brother is a martyr [un taliban mort au combat] and my father was already a mujahedin. “

Challenges to overcome

With the end of the Kabul regime, the day has dawned on the Taliban underground. This harsh light left his fighters a little numbed by a long-awaited victory. If they realize the challenges before them, the Taliban do not seem to doubt for a moment that they will be able to overcome them. Have they not beaten “The alliance of the American army, the first in the world, and NATO troops”, as Said Khasul points out. But if the country aims to become a theocracy held by mullahs of rural origin, resistant to compromise, for the time being, the disciplined Taliban troops are still seeking their mark.

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On the sandy and earthy beach that slopes gently down to the lake, kids are renting skinny little horses for the ride. On one of them, a Taliban tries to keep the balance. Among his group of hilarious friends, Bashir Ahmad Baradar, the full brother of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the two co-founders of the Taliban movement, who negotiated with the United States the withdrawal agreement, signed on February 29, 2020 , in Doha, Qatar, easily lends itself to the game of discussion.

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