Thousands of members of the Hazara clan in Afghanistan marched ten kilometers through the city of Kabul to the presidential palace to protest the beheading of seven people, including three women and two children, probably by Taliban militants in the South of the country. The Hazara are a Shia, Persian minority and have borne the brunt of a rising wave of religious killings as sectarian violence blossoms since the pullout of a large part of Western forces from the country.
Reuters reported the crowd chanted, “Death to Ghani, Death to the Taliban,” as they attempted to force Afghan President Ashraf Ghani from the palace for a statement, some attempting to climb the walls. A handful of protesters were wounded from bullets as soldiers tried to disperse the crowd. “The only way to prevent such crimes in the future is to take over all government offices until they wake up and make a decision,” said Sayed Karim, 40, one of thousands who filled Mazari Square in western Kabul.
This was the largest protest in Afghanistan in years and puts pressure on the government to do something about the deteriorating security situation as the Taliban and Islamic extremists attempt to wrest control of territory from government forces. President Obama has decided to keep around ten thousand U.S. troops in the country versus an earlier plan to remove all American troops from the country this year.
It seems obvious that Afghans have to decide amongst themselves whether or not to unite as a country and fight the extremist elements like the Taliban which threaten to tear the fledgling democracy apart at the seams. Perhaps this large of a demonstration will push the government in that direction. A stable Afghanistan would go a long way to safeguarding American national security.
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