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Afghan tensions rise as protest turns violent
July 05, 2018
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MAZAR-I-SHARIF: At least one person was killed and nine were wounded in the Afghan province of Faryab on Wednesday during a protest that underlined the tension between powerful regional leaders and President Ashraf Ghani ahead of elections due in October.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Maiman, the capital of the northern province of Faryab, to demand the release of a prominent militia commander close to General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the ethnic Uzbek vice president who is in exile in Turkey.

The commander, area police chief Nizamuddin Qaisari, was arrested after a violent dispute during a meeting with leaders of government security forces on Monday, drawing angry protests from Dostum’s supporters.

The dispute has highlighted fragile security in Faryab, where Daesh have gained a foothold, battling militia commanders loosely affiliated with the government.

Dostum, in exile in Turkey after accusations that he ordered a political opponent to be tortured and sexually assaulted, issued a statement calling for the release of Qaisari and warning that the province, on the border with Turkmenistan, could collapse in chaos.

The protest descended into violence when protesters tried to force their way into governor’s compound and security forces fired in the air to stop them, said Karim Yourish, spokesman for the provincial police.

But the head of a provincial council, Mohammad Tahir Rahmani, said at least one person was killed and eight wounded in the firing, which then prompting the crowd to break into the compound.


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