Protesters killed in anti-government protest in Kabul, Afghanistan
(June 2)Protesters in the Afghan capital Kabul demanded the resignation of the president Ashraf Ghani's government after the recent devastating truck-bomb attack in the capital.
|There were deadly clashes with the riot police. Four protesters were killed as police fired live ammunition to break up the demonstration. Health Ministry spokesperson Waheed Majrooh said; “In today’s protest four people died and eight others were wounded." The protests and no doubt the casualties added pressure on Ghani's weak and divided government that has been powerless to prevent attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians.|
Ghani condemned what he called the cowardly truck-bomb attack that ripped through the diplomatic district supposedly the most secure area of Kabul. The attack killed at least 90 people and wounded hundreds more.
In the Kabul protests more than 1,000 demonstrators with many carrying pictures of bomb victims rallied in the morning near the site of the blast. They hold Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah responsible for the blast due to lax security. The two share power. Niloofar Nilgoon, one of many women in the protest said: "The international community has to put pressure on them and force them to resign. They're not capable of leading the country." As the standoff lasted longer the situation grew more tense and regular gunfire bursts were heard. Police in riot gear used water cannon and tear gas to stop protesters from access to the road that leads to the presidential palace. Among those killed according to Afghan media reports was the son of a prominent politician.
The protesters are angry at the Western-backed government which has failed to provide security even in the capital, 3 years after most foreign troops have left. One banner read: "Ghani! Abdullah! Resign! Resign!" Given the weak government and unstable political situation the U.S. may find its plan to possibly send 3,000 to 5,000 more troops to break the stalemate with the Taliban even more problematic than it already is. The Taliban control about 40 percent of the country. Even before the truck attack 715 civilians had been killed in the first three months of 2017. In 2016 nearly 3,500 civilians were killed the worst year for civilian deaths on record.
Kabul has been on edge ever since the devastating bombing as it showed militants could strike arguably the most secure district in the city which is home not only to foreign embassies surrounded by concrete blast walls but also the presidential palace. Rahila Jafari, a social activist said: “Our brothers and sisters were martyred in the bloody attack and our leaders are doing nothing to stop this carnage. We want justice, we want the perpetrators of the attack to be hanged to death.” Another demonstrator claimed that until the two rulers resigned the demonstrations would continue: “Day after day, innocent civilians are being killed by terrorists. If our leaders cannot restore security they should step down.” The enclosed video claims that even more were killed in the protests, seven.