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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

NYTimes: Huge Protest Against Afghan Government Brings Kabul to a Halt



Thousands of protesters marched in Afghanistan’s capital on Monday in the country’s largest demonstration since 2014. CreditWakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

KABUL, Afghanistan — A large demonstration against the fragile Afghan government brought Kabul to a standstill on Monday and put security forces on alert, with the authorities stacking shipping containers to block all routes to the city center and the presidential palace.

The demonstration, which was driven by ethnic Hazaras’ outrage over the proposed route for a new electricity transmission line, tapped a deep well of factional tensions and frustration over the government of President Ashraf Ghani.

Though most of the protest remained peaceful, some demonstrators pelted the container blockades with rocks and acted violently toward at least five reporters. The security forces resorted to sporadic use of water cannons to disperse people.

Thousands of demonstrators marched from the west of Kabul to demand that the government abandon its decision to reroute the line, which would transmit electricity from Turkmenistan. The line was initially supposed to go through Bamian, a Hazara-dominated central province that is one of the most deprived in the country. But the current proposed route avoids the province,..... Continue Reading...

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