In a highly ironic change of atmosphere, viral videos show the Taliban enjoying a bumper car ride and being fascinated by gym equipment, among other things.
In two videos, shown in tweets that have since been deleted, Taliban soldiers were shown enjoying a bumper car ride and riding a carousel in what appears to be an amusement park. They seemed to be having a good time, with weapons still at hand.
In another video, another group of Taliban members are shown enjoying the exercise facilities of what is allegedly the presidential palace. The gym appeared well-stocked with equipment.
🚨 | NEW: Taliban take control of a gym at the presidential palace pic.twitter.com/hJv5ZWMvw8
— News For All (@NewsForAllUK) August 17, 2021
The images depicted in the viral videos are in stark contrast to other videos of Afghanistan residents desperate to escape the country shortly after the capital fell to the Taliban. In one video, Afghans appear to fall from a US cargo plane as it takes off.
The videos showed at least two people falling from the aircraft. The US Air Force confirmed that human remains were indeed found in the wheel well of one of its military transport aircraft that came from Kabul, though they did not confirm how many identifiable persons were found.
Who Are the Taliban?
The word “Taliban” is a Pashto word that directly translates to “students.” The group rose to power in 1994 in wake of the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989.
The group refers to itself as the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” and has been waging a war against the Afghan government and US forces for the past 20 years. Their leader, since 2016, has been Mawlawi Hibatullah.