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Taliban fire in air as hundreds of protesters shout 'Death to Pak'

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: September 08, 2021 01:20 IST
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Hundreds of Afghan protesters, including women wearing the hijab, took to the streets of Kabul on Tuesday chanting 'death to Pakistan' and denouncing Islamabad's interference as well as airstrikes by its jets in Panjshir province in support of the Taliban.


IMAGE: A member of the Taliban forces points his gun at protesters, as Afghan demonstrators shout slogans during an anti-Pakistan protest, near the Pakistan embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 7, 2021. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

In the largest demonstration the Afghan capital has seen since the Taliban seized power last month, activists shouted in support of resistance fighters in the holdout province of Panjshir and chanted against Pakistan, which they view as meddling in Afghanistan's internal affairs.

The protests in Kabul also saw people chanting slogans in favour of the leader of the National Resistance Front (NRF), Ahmad Masoud, who has been leading opposition to the Taliban from the province of Panjshir.

The Taliban on Monday said they have seized Panjshir, the last province not in their control, after their takeover of the United States-backed Afghanistan government last month.

The protesters claimed that Pakistan Air Force jets conducted airstrikes in Panjshir province, Afghanistan's Khaama News reported.

Chanting 'death to Pakistan', 'Freedom' and 'we do not want captivity' among many other slogans, the protesters gathered at the gate of the Pakistani embassy in Kabul and asked its staff to leave Afghanistan, it reported.

'Pakistan, Pakistan, Leave Afghanistan', a slogan on a huge banner read.

The agitators said they do not want a puppet government in Afghanistan and asked for an inclusive government, it said.

Some protesters complained about the role that the head of Pakistan's military intelligence has played as negotiations concluded on the formation of a government.

The chief of Inter-Services Intelligence, Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid, arrived in Kabul at the weekend and has been meeting senior Taliban officials, including Mullah Baradar, the head of the Taliban's Political Bureau.

Amid chaotic scenes on the streets, Taliban fighters intervened and shot into the air to disperse the protesters.

The videos showed people scattering or crouching down amid sustained bursts of gunfire. There were no initial reports of casualties.

Witnesses estimated the crowd at between 300 and 500 people -- many of whom were women wearing the hijab.

Several Afghan journalists covering the demonstration were arrested, witnesses and Afghan media outlets said.

Afghanistan's TOLO News reported that the Taliban detained its cameraperson Wahid Ahmadi and confiscated his camera.

The Taliban forces prevented some journalists from filming the protest, it added.

The demonstrators gathered after Ahmad Masoud, the co-leader of the resistance front in Panjshir province, in a voice clip called on people of Afghanistan to resurrect against the Taliban.

According to the report, people in Blakh and Daikundi provinces also took to the streets on Monday night and chanted slogans against Pakistan.

Iran has also reacted to the airstrikes in Panjshir and the foreign ministry has asked for investigations over what he called the interference of foreign jets.

Questioned about the handling of the protests at a press conference to announce the new government, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that illegal demonstrations would not be allowed.

He said protesters must observe the rules during the current emergency in the country.

He dismissed the claims by protesters about Pakistani interference in Afghanistan, saying they were rumours that had been circulated for two decades.

Meanwhile, human rights group Amnesty International said in a post on Twitter that it is 'deeply concerned about reports on use of violence against peaceful protestors & journalists in Kabul by the Taliban'.

'Exercising right to freedom of peaceful assembly is a human right. Taliban must respect & allow people to exercise their rights,' Amnesty tweeted.

Human Rights Watch tweeted: 'In yet another indication that #Afghanistan's new rulers will not tolerate peaceful dissent, the Taliban again used force to crush a protest by hundreds of #Afghan women calling for their rights today.'

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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