Two dead, 33 wounded in protests in northeast Afghanistan

The PakTribune
, 31 May 2005

According to RAWA report, people in 3 different districts of Takhar province (Rostaq, Cha Ab, Dasht Qala) organized mass protests against the corrupt and criminal warlord authorities who have been assigned by Mr. Karzai as governor, security chief and head of education in this province. They asked for removal of warlords from these posts who are also engaged in cultivation and trafficking of drugs.

The demonstrations were continued for 4 days, started from May 29 to June 2, 2005, and then came to an end when representatives of people were taken to Kabul to negotiate with Mr. Karzai. He assured people that these warlords will be sacked from their posts, but so far no action has been taken.

Here are some photos from Rostaq taken from a video film by RAWA.

Kabul administration sent a delegation to negotiate with people. A strong police force was also deployed to silent the voice of people.
Women of Takhar for the first time took part in the demonstration to raise their voice against fundamentalist warlords who have made the life a torture to people in that province.

Some demonstrators who were wounded by police

RAWA Photos, May 30 - Jun.3, 2005

MAZAR-I-SHARIF: Two Afghans were killed and 33 others wounded in violent protests against a local official in the war-shattered country's northeast, local authorities said.

NATO-led peacekeeping forces said they sent out two F-16 fighter jets to the scene of the demonstrations in Rustaq district of remote Takhar province.

"There were demonstrations today against the district chief of education, accused by some people to have stolen money to students," provincial governor Qazi Mohammed Kabir Marzban told AFP.

"Two people were killed and 33 injured in fights between people. We sent a delegation there, and hope that there will not be more demonstrations tomorrow."

There was no indications that the riots were linked to the worst anti-US protests since the fall of the Taliban which left 15 people dead across Afghanistan earlier this month.

Those demonstrations were against a Newsweek report, which the magazine later retracted, that the US military in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba had desecrated copies of the Koran.

Karen Tissot van Patot, a spokesman for the 8,300-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) which operates in Afghanistan, confirmed it had briefly dispatched warplanes to the area.

"We sent two F-16 this afternoon after receiving a request from Afghan authorities to provide air support in Rustaq district of in Takhar province, where there were riots. The F-16s overflew in the zone," she said.

The force has soldiers from 37 countries deployed in Kabul and nine northern provinces including Takhar, where the international troops have been in place since 2002.

Taliban militants claimed responsibility Monday for a bicycle bomb aimed at a NATO-led vehicle in Kabul which wounded at least seven Afghans and a rocket which slammed into the peacekeeping force's base in the capital.

No ISAF members were hurt

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