Just before 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, a line of Afghans had formed outside a bank in the Shahr-e Naw neighborhood of Kabul, the Afghan capital.
Most of the city’s banks ran out of money on Sunday, as the Taliban struggled to penetrate the city and panic erupted among residents. One person standing in line on Tuesday said he wasn’t sure if this bank or others had any money left. “But here I am waiting,” he said. “I need money to buy food for my family.”
Wednesday, the morning after Taliban officials appeared at a news conference in Kabul and formally announced themselves as Afghanistan’s new leaders, the capital was subdued. Some Taliban fighters patrolled the roads.
A day after reports that Taliban members had beaten civilians trying to approach Kabul International Airport, there was little apparent sign of tension, though many residents stayed in their homes.
Outside a government-run telecommunications company, a Taliban fighter spoke to a traffic cop, one of the few signs of the now-deposed civilian government. Behind them, on a concrete wall, a mural depicts the face of Yama Siavash, a journalist who was murdered last November, a murder for which Taliban members have claimed responsibility.
At a riverside market, a 20-year-old apple seller named Jawed, who like many Afghans has only one name, was more optimistic about the Taliban takeover.
His district of Qarabagh, north of Kabul, has been the scene of clashes in recent days as the Taliban moved into the city. Now that the roads are quieter, Jawed says it has become easier to source his fruit, which comes from Pakistan.
“People are scared right now – they’re not buying,” he said. “But at least it’s better than yesterday. Things will slowly improve. The mullahs have arrived.”