14 years after they were ousted by Western forces, the Taliban is back. Of course, they never really went away as the Taliban controls large areas of Afghanistan even when NATO troops were in Afghanistan. Now that NATO is gone, the Taliban wasted no time taking the northern Afghan city of Kunduz.
Afghan government forces have launched a counter-attack on the city and heavy fighting is continuing in the city but you know what really got my attention? How much the Taliban has changed!
I mean the Taliban fighters are now taking selfies, some just after breaking out of jail! According to reports, the Taliban attacked Kunduz at night, taking the Afghan government forces by surprise. The Taliban fighters quickly overwhelmed several of the police checkpoints defending the perimeter of the town, captured key buildings, and freed about 500 prisoners from the city's jail.
The freed prisoners then promptly took selfies with the Taliban fighters who freed them and the pictures are now flooding Afghan social media. The capture of Kunduz may represent the Taliban's biggest victory since 2001 but it could be fleeting if they can’t hold on to the city. However, the pictures on social media?
That's different. Those selfies on the streets of Kunduz are some of the most striking and revealing moments of the assault on the city. They are there forever. The Taliban is back, and they are different from the Taliban we all remember.