Disabled Afghan War Vets Protest in Kabul
17 per cent Afghans are disabled
Disabled land-mine victim in Afghanistan

BBC (Persian service), December 3, 2005

Protesting disables attack the ceremony of World Handicaps Day in Kabul

... crippled people which included some women chanted slogans against Siddiqua Balkhi and demanded for her resignation

Tens of angry disabled people in Kabul attacked the ceremony of “World Handicaps Day” and stopped the speech of the Minister of Martyrs and Disables. This ceremony with the participation of many high ranked government officials, including Siddiqua Balkhi the Minister of Martyrs and Disables was held in the Pul-e-Technique Institution in Kabul.

A land mine victim in Afghanistan
Land mine victim

The speech of the Minister of Martyrs and Disables had not yet ended that a group of angry and discontented disables entered the venue of the conference and caused chaos.

The group of the crippled people which included women as well chanted slogans against Siddiqua Balkhi and demanded for her resignation.

One of the protesting handicaps who had reached the stage poured petrol on himself and attempted to burn himself to show his discontent.

The protesters complained that they only got 300 Afghanis per month (=US$6) and that this money was not even sufficient for their very basic needs.

They also said that they are ready to work to earn money for their family but that the government hasn’t arranged any job possibilities for them.

The crippled protesters in a conversation with the reporters demanded that Hamid Karzai, the president of their country give the responsibility of all the affairs of the Ministry of Martyrs and Disables to disables themselves.

The protestors also claimed that almost US$60,000 had been spent on organizing the ceremony of the Worlds Handicaps Day but no attention was given to their grave problems.

Wais-ul-Din Siraj the advisor of the Minster of Martyrs and Disables called the protestors “a group of agitators”. About the claim of the spending of US$60,000 on the ceremony he said that this money had not just been spent on the ceremonial expenses, but a number of awareness posters had also been printed from this money.

Mr. Siraj also added that almost ten percent of the members of the staff of the Ministry of Martyred and Disabled comprised of the crippled themselves.

According to government officials the long term wars in Afghanistan has left behind more than one million disabled people. Many of them are busy in begging in the streets of Kabul and other cities of Afghanistan.

Translated by RAWA

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