Taliban take to pedalos with their families as they celebrate a year ruling Afghanistan


A year on from seizing control in Afghanistan, pictures of Taliban fighters riding pedalos with their families in celebration have emerged. 

The images, taken at one of the lakes in Band-e-Amir national Park, a popular weekend destination in the country, show members of the Taliban enjoying the sunshine as a rally gathered in the capital. 

Pictures show them gathered on the boats, some holding weapons, smiling and chatting amongst themselves at the lake, which has been described as Afghanistan’s Grand Canyon and attracts thousands of tourists a year. 

Some were seen jumping into the cooling water amid soaring temperatures of 40c and above.  

A rare rally gathered on Saturday (August 13) just days before the one year anniversary of hardline Islamists’ take over, which saw around 40 women march in front of the education ministry building in Kabul. 

The images were taken at one of the lakes in Band-e-Amir national Park, a popular weekend destination in the country, a year on from the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan 

Members of the group visited the popular destination with members of their own families to celebrate a year of being back in power

Members of the group visited the popular destination with members of their own families to celebrate a year of being back in power 

They were seen on board the boats with others holding weapons, smiling and chatting with each other while enjoying the sites on the lake

They were seen on board the boats with others holding weapons, smiling and chatting with each other while enjoying the sites on the lake 

This image appears to show a British Army SA80 assault rifle in the hands of a Taliban gunman as he watches the pedalos on the lake

This image appears to show a British Army SA80 assault rifle in the hands of a Taliban gunman as he watches the pedalos on the lake 

Since the Taliban take over, the country's economy has collapsed and most art, culture and pastimes have been formally banned

Since the Taliban take over, the country’s economy has collapsed and most art, culture and pastimes have been formally banned 

Band-e-Amir, the first national park in the country which was established in 2006, is a chain of six lakes in the mountainous desert of central Afghanistan

Band-e-Amir, the first national park in the country which was established in 2006, is a chain of six lakes in the mountainous desert of central Afghanistan

Members of the Taliban could be seen sitting at the side of the lake watching their families enjoy the pedalos

Members of the Taliban could be seen sitting at the side of the lake watching their families enjoy the pedalos 

Many people gathered at the lakes to enjoy the good weather as a rally descended on the capital Kabul amid soaring temperatures

Many people gathered at the lakes to enjoy the good weather as a rally descended on the capital Kabul amid soaring temperatures 

Some were seen jumping into the blue waters of the lakes, which draws thousands of tourists to the spot every year

Some were seen jumping into the blue waters of the lakes, which draws thousands of tourists to the spot every year 

They were chanting ‘bread, work and freedom’ and carrying a banner which read ‘August 15 is a black day’ before being dispersed by Taliban fighters who shot guns into the air. 

Some protesters, who were demanding rights to work and political participation, took refuge in nearby shops and were chased and beaten by Taliban fights with their rifle butts, according to reports. 

Many women were not wearing face veils and chanted, ‘Justice, justice. We’re fed up with ignorance.’ 

One of the organisers of the march said Taliban fights tore their banners and confiscated phones as they dispersed the rally. 

‘Unfortunately, the Taliban from the intelligence service came and fired in the air, Zholia Parsi said. 

‘They dispersed the girls, tore our banners and confiscated the mobile phones of many girls.’ 

According to reports, some journalists covering the protest were also beaten by the Taliban fighters. 

Soldiers were seen in full camouflage gear helping people to get on and off of the pedalos while others enjoyed the cool water

Soldiers were seen in full camouflage gear helping people to get on and off of the pedalos while others enjoyed the cool water  

The site of Band-e Amir has been described as Afghanistan's Grand Canyon, and is a hugely popular tourist destination in the country

The site of Band-e Amir has been described as Afghanistan’s Grand Canyon, and is a hugely popular tourist destination in the country 

People were seen waiting on the side of the lake for a turn on the pedalos as the Taliban celebrates its one year anniversary in power

People were seen waiting on the side of the lake for a turn on the pedalos as the Taliban celebrates its one year anniversary in power 

Women chanted 'bread, work and freedom' as they marched through the streets with their banners and placards

Women chanted ‘bread, work and freedom’ as they marched through the streets with their banners and placards 

Many women were not wearing face veils as they had been told to do earlier this year and chanted, 'Justice, justice. We're fed up with ignorance.'

Many women were not wearing face veils as they had been told to do earlier this year and chanted, ‘Justice, justice. We’re fed up with ignorance.’

Around 40 women were part of the march, which was held in front of the education ministry building in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul

Around 40 women were part of the march, which was held in front of the education ministry building in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul 

The women were dispersed by Taliban fighters, who they claim tore up their banners and confiscated many of their mobile phones

The women were dispersed by Taliban fighters, who they claim tore up their banners and confiscated many of their mobile phones 

Some protesters, who were demanding rights to work and political participation, took refuge in nearby shops and were chased and beaten by Taliban fights with their rifle butts, according to reports

Some protesters, who were demanding rights to work and political participation, took refuge in nearby shops and were chased and beaten by Taliban fights with their rifle butts, according to reports

Since seizing control on August 15 last year, the Taliban have reversed many of the gains made by women in the two decades of US intervention in the country. 

Initially, they promised a softer version of the Islamist rule seen in their first stint in power from 1996 to 2001. 

But many restrictions have already been reintroduced, particularly on women, to comply with the movement’s vision of Islam. 

Tens of thousands of girls have been shut out of secondary schools, and women have been barred from returning to many government jobs. 

Women have also been banned from travelling alone on long trips and are only permitted to visit public gardens and parks in the capital on days separate from men. 

Earlier this year, the country’s supreme leader and chief of the Taliban, Hibatullah Akhundzada, ordered that women should fully cover themselves in public, including their faces. 

Since seizing control on August 15 last year, the Taliban have reversed many of the gains made by women in the two decades of US intervention in the country

Since seizing control on August 15 last year, the Taliban have reversed many of the gains made by women in the two decades of US intervention in the country

Tens of thousands of girls have been shut out of secondary schools, and women have been barred from returning to many government jobs

Tens of thousands of girls have been shut out of secondary schools, and women have been barred from returning to many government jobs

Women have also been banned from travelling alone on long trips and are only permitted to visit public gardens and parks in the capital on days separate from men

Women have also been banned from travelling alone on long trips and are only permitted to visit public gardens and parks in the capital on days separate from men

The United Nations and rights groups and repeatedly slammed the Taliban government for imposing the restrictions on women

The United Nations and rights groups and repeatedly slammed the Taliban government for imposing the restrictions on women 

Earlier this year, the country's supreme leader ordered that women should fully cover themselves in public, including their faces

Earlier this year, the country’s supreme leader ordered that women should fully cover themselves in public, including their faces

The United Nations and rights groups and repeatedly slammed the Taliban government for imposing the restrictions. 

Richard Bennett, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan told reporters that the policies showed a ‘pattern of absolute gender segregation and are aimed at making women invisible in the society’ during a visit to Kabul in May. 

Initially, some Afghan women pushed back against the restrictions in the form of small protests. But the ringleaders were soon rounded up and held incommunicado, while denying they had been detained.   

The takeover of the country paved the way for a collapse in the economy and the freezing of Afghan and donor funds, which created a humanitarian crisis. 

In the months since the takeover, most art, culture and pastimes have also been banned.  

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