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Anti-Taliban protests in Jalalabad turn deadly

At least three people were killed in anti-Taliban protests in the Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday.

Witnesses said Taliban fighters open​ed fire during the protests against the militant group and that more than a dozen people were injured in the shooting.

Video footage showed protesters carrying Afghanistan's national flag down the street and witnesses said the gunfire followed an attempt by local residents to install the flag at a square in the city, 90 miles east of Kabul.

The killings mar the Taliban's promises of peace following the militant group's rapid sweep into the capital, and come as it tried to set up a government.

Many Afghans are skeptical of the Taliban's promises, which included respecting the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law. Some said they could only wait and see.

But in a recent interview, a senior Taliban leader told Reuters Afghanistan would not be a democracy.

SENIOR TALIBAN LEADER WAHEEDULLAH HASHIMI: "The system of the government is clear: that is an Islamic government sharia law, would be of course, there will be no democratic system at all because it doesn’t have any base in our country."

Meanwhile, thousands of Afghans, many of whom helped U.S.-led foreign forces over two decades, are desperate to leave the country.

Video obtained by Reuters showed crowds running away from a Taliban fighter firing his gun in the air near people gathered outside Kabul airport on Wednesday, as Western countries stepped up evacuations of diplomats and civilians.

One Western official told Reuters on Wednesday that about 5,000 diplomats, security staff, aid workers and Afghan civilians have been evacuated from Kabul in the last 24 hours.

One early evacuee, Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, turned up in the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf state's foreign ministry said on Wednesday, after he fled the country on Sunday as Taliban fighters seized control of the capital.