Battle-hardened Taliban fighters take pleasure in a day without work at amusement park

By Jorge Silva and Gibran Naiyyar Peshimam

KABUL (Reuters) – Strolling casually with their machine weapons in hand, Halimi and lots of of fellow Taliban fighters loved a uncommon day without work with a go to to a preferred waterside amusement park in Kabul.

Friday’s day journey to the sandy shores of the capital’s Qargha reservoir was a welcome break for the fighters after months of battle and weeks of safety obligation for the reason that Taliban took energy in mid-August.

“I feel very cheerful about coming to Kabul and being able to visit Qargha for the first time … the people welcomed me and my companions in a brotherly manner,” Halimi, 24, a fighter from the central Maidan Wardak province, informed Reuters, asking to not give his full title.

The fighters, who have been all closely armed on the park, sipped tea and acquired snacks from stalls dotted alongside the shoreline.

Some queued as much as attempt the amusement park rides, which included a pirate ship and a flying chairs carousel.

Behind Halimi, Ziaul Haq, 25, additionally from Maidan Wardak, beamed as he went for a horse journey.

Most of the fighters had by no means been to Kabul till the Taliban took management of the capital on Aug. 15, and a few have been keen to go to the amusement park earlier than returning to their duties across the nation.

“We’re proud to have fought and now they (the Americans) are gone, that’s the most joyful thing we’ve experienced yet,” Halimi stated, including that he had met a cousin on the park and had a picnic to have fun the Taliban’s comeback.

The Taliban waged a 20-year insurgency towards a Western-backed authorities earlier than returning to energy in August after President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan. Most of its fighters have identified little outdoors the insurgency.

The fighters are actually tasked with making certain nationwide safety, which has develop into more and more fragile following a minimum of three assaults on spiritual establishments within the final week.

A suicide bombing on Friday at a mosque in northwestern Afghanistan killed a minimum of 46 individuals and injured greater than 140.

The assault was claimed by the Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-Okay), a reputation taken from the traditional title for the area that features trendy Afghanistan.

(Editing by Helen Popper)

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