As they cement their control, the Taliban conduct a triumph rally outside Kabul

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As they cement their control, the Taliban conduct a triumph rally outside Kabul.

On Sunday, more than 1,500 Taliban supporters gathered in a large field north of Kabul to demonstrate their might as they cement their control of Afghanistan.

At Kohdaman settlement, on the hills outskirts of the city, a throng of mostly men and boys listened to lectures by top Taliban leaders and commanders.

The protest was the first of its sort in the capital since the Islamist group took control of the country during a rapid attack seven weeks ago.

The speakers addressed an audience seated in rows of seats under awnings, flanked by white and black Taliban flags and warriors in battle gear with assault weapons.

As the ceremony progressed, more and more supporters showed up, leaving several hundred people sitting in chairs in the noon sun to watch.

The deputy minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs, Mawlawi Muslim Haqqani, praised the Islamist hardliners' coup, declaring Christians and Westerners vanquished.

A group of men also chanted anti-American slogans, with one telling the audience to "respect elders" since they were the mujahids who battled the Soviets in the 1980s.

The Taliban's win, according to a speaker from neighbouring Mir Bacha Kot named Rahmatullah, was the outcome of those teenagers who stood in lines to register for suicide strikes.

A procession of warriors holding flags and weaponry, including rocket launchers, marched around the crowd to start things off.

As they cement their control, the Taliban conduct a triumph rally outside Kabul.

Some of the mostly unarmed supporters wore red or white Taliban headbands, while others carried handmade placards.

From the side of the stage, tribal elders sat cross-legged and observed.

As thousands gathered, music celebrating the Taliban's achievements reverberated around the venue, guarded by dozens of highly armed fighters dressed in military battle fatigues.

One song said,

"America is defeated, impossible, impossible - but possible!"

As they drove down the sandy road to the location in pick-up trucks, some yelled pro-Taliban chants, while others screamed "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) as they went into the shaded area in front of the stage.

A huge banner honouring a slain Taliban leader and declaring the "support of the people of Kohdaman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in the action of liberating the country" was draped across the road while around ten armed men lined the road leading to the township.

The Taliban attacked a modest women's rights march in eastern Kabul last Thursday, firing bullets into the air to disperse demonstrators.

The women protestors were then forced back by gunmen as they attempted to continue the rally, while a foreign journalist was shot with a rifle and prevented from filming.

AFP journalists witnessed a Taliban fighter firing a short burst of bullets into the air with his automatic rifle.

Following the Taliban's takeover of power, isolated anti-Taliban protests - with women in the forefront - were held in places around the nation, including in the western city of Herat, where two people were killed.

However, since the government issued an order prohibiting rallies without prior authorization and threatening serious legal action against offenders, protests have diminished.

The few that have gone forward have been criticized as meticulously staged PR spectacles, like a gathering at a Kabul university when hundreds of completely veiled women expressed their support for the new administration.

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