Everyone here has tales of lost loved ones, but many want foreigners back – with aid not weapons
A parade of white Taliban flags lines Musa Qala bazaar right up to the central monument where two kidnappers were hanged in a public execution earlier this year. The flags flutter from almost every shop in celebration, some rough and handmade, others printed and lined with tinsel.
The dusty town, an opium trading centre reached most of the year by driving up the gravel bed of a seasonal river, was the Taliban’s southern capital from 2015 until the militant group took over the national capital. Before that it was the site of intense fighting by British and US forces for more than a decade, including a bitter 2006 British siege in which 88 men were holed up for two months, leading to the first – albeit hyperlocal – international ceasefire negotiations with the Taliban.