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A Taliban check points in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on Thursday. Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Several more Afghans have died during a rally due to the Taliban firing on them — this time in the city of Asadabad on Thursday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Witnesses said the Taliban shot at the group as they waved the national flag while celebrating Afghan Independence Day, when the country celebrates the anniversary of the 1919 treaty that ended British rule.

What's new: Witness Mohammed Salim told Reuters "hundreds" of people took to the streets for the latest rally, but it wasn't clear whether the deaths were the result of the Taliban's gunfire or the stampede that it caused.

The big picture: Despite the Taliban assuring the U.S. the new government would allow safe passage of civilians to the airport in Kabul, it has instituted checkpoints outside its perimeter and have been violently pushing back those seeking entry, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • The Taliban unleashed rounds of gunfire into the air and beat families seeking entry, the Journal reports.
  • The chaos and violence succeeded in thinning out the crowds of Afghans trying to enter the airport, CNN reports.

Meanwhile, ousted Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who's declared himself Afghanistan's "caretake president" from the Panjshir Valley — the last Taliban holdout — praised the protesters on Thursday for their "courageous and patriotic movement."

  • Saleh is part of an opposition group in the valley, north of Kabul in the Hindu Kush, which is seeking to revive the Northern Alliance, which helped the U.S. oust the Taliban in 2001.

What to watch: The pockets of resistance mark the first challenges to the Taliban's grip on power since declaring victory after ousting Afghanistan's democratically elected government.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include details of the latest protest and subsequent fatal shooting, the demonstration in Khost, resistance in the Panjshir valley and Saleh's praise of the protesters.

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - World

WHO, UNICEF to launch polio vaccine drive in Afghanistan

Afghan boys return to their homes after attending school in Chashma Dozak area of Badghis province on Oct. 16. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will launch a house-to-house vaccination campaign to inoculate children in Afghanistan against polio, the UN announced Monday.

Why it matters: The campaign, which begins Nov. 8 with the Taliban's backing, is the first such vaccine drive in over three years to reach all Afghan children, the press release noted.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
38 mins ago - Economy & Business

Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The wealth tax that wasn't a wealth tax isn't even a tax, now. The Democrats had a meticulously constructed 107-page proposal to pay for a large chunk of their spending plans with a tax on billionaires, but it died ignobly on Wednesday, the same day it was unveiled.

Why it matters: The dream of a wealth tax will never die as it so neatly generates revenue by reducing inequality. But there are three main reasons why that dream is likely to remain just a dream for the foreseeable future.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.