Afghans protest Taliban in emerging challenge to their rule

By AHMAD SEIR, RAHIM FAIEZ, KATHY GANNON AND JON GAMBRELL Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan protesters have defied the Taliban for a second day, waving their national flag.

The scattered demonstrations Thursday were met with renewed violence by the militants who are facing growing challenges to their rule.

A U.N. official warned of dire food shortages in this nation of 38 million people reliant on imports.

The Taliban face the same problems as the civilian government they dethroned without the level of international aid it enjoyed. In the face of these challenges, the militants have moved quickly to suppress any dissent.

Many fear the Taliban will succeed in erasing two decades of efforts to expand women's and human rights in Afghanistan and remake the country.

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