Taliban encounter Afghan cities remade in their absence

  • FILE — In this July 1, 2008 file photo, Afghans play football in front of the destroyed Darul Aman Palace in the western part of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Taliban fighters who rolled into Afghanistan’s capital and other cities in recent days appear awestruck by the towering apartment blocks, modern office buildings and shopping malls. When the Taliban last seized power, in 1996, the country had been ravaged by civil war and the capital was in ruins. (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy, File)

Ezanullah, one of thousands of young Taliban fighters from the countryside who rode into Afghanistan’s capital over the weekend, had never seen anything like it.