Hundreds protest in Kabul against Pakistan involvement in Afghanistan

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Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)

Hundreds of Afghans took to the streets of Kabul on Tuesday, chanting slogans against Pakistani meddling in the country

The protests took place in at least two locations in the city centre, with participants demanding Pakistan to stop interfering in Afghanistan’s affairs.

Many Afghans, including former officials, say that Pakistan is supporting the Taliban and has helped them in their recent military campaign, during which the militant group took over the country. Islamabad has denied any involvement.

In one of the many videos of the protests circulating on social media or on local TV, a female participant says she and the other protesters are not there for personal gains, but to defend their country.

“We are here to defend our country. Pakistan has started a direct invasion in Afghanistan and we are asking why its chief intelligence is here? What is his purpose?”

On Sunday and Monday, the head of Pakistan’s intelligence service ISI, Faiz Hameed, visited Kabul and conducted meetings with Taliban officials.

According to a BBC reporter, many protesters in Kabul alleged Pakistan supported the Taliban in fighting in Panjshir province, which fell to the Taliban on Monday after almost a week of fighting.

At the same time, many protesters chanted “Freedom” – probably hinting at support for Ahmad Massud, who led the armed National Resistance Front in Panjshir and is in hiding since the Taliban took over the province.

He had called all Afghans to a national uprising in an audio message on Monday and shortly after tweeted only the word “Freedom.”

A foreign journalist wrote on Twitter, that, for several kilometres, well-disciplined Taliban members allowed a protest of around 300 to 500 people to continue through the streets of Kabul.

Taliban members guarding Zanbak Square, however, fired in the air, beat protesters, vandalized a vehicle leading them, and tore cameras from journalists.

The popular news channel ToloNews reported on Twitter that the Taliban detained a ToloNews camera operator and confiscated his camera.

A former member of parliament in northern Balkh province said a similar protest also took place against Pakistan late on Monday in Mazar-e Sharif.

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