The Kabul flag salon, which has been operating since the Soviet era, is returning

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – A small flagship shop, set up in the Kabul market square, has documented the long-running crisis in Afghanistan with its changing trade.

Now the shop is full of white Taliban flags, with Islamic slogans, in black Arabic letters.

On Sunday, four-year-olds rely on white cloths wrapped around a fluorescent lamp and fill the template with a Quran verse with black ink. The finished flags hung on the porch to dry.

The owner, 58-year-old Wahidullah Honarwer, said that before President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on August 15, when the Taliban were about to occupy Kabul’s capital, he waved flags from all countries that had ties to Afghanistan.

Honarwer still has flags in place.

“The Taliban came to see all the flags and did not tell us anything,” he said, sitting behind a computer in his shop. He also said the Taliban had told him to hoist the flag until the situation calmed down.

Honarwer said he started his business when the Soviet-backed government came to power in the 1980s. The Soviets left in 1989 with their communist allies in 1992, followed by military rule and civil war.

The Taliban ruled from 1996-2001, when a US-led group fired Islamic militants. The Taliban resumed control when US and NATO troops withdrew from Afghanistan in late August.

Honarwer says he will remain in Afghanistan, no matter who he is.

“I love Afghanistan and I want to be here,” he said. “Every government comes, my business continues and will continue.”

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