Taliban gives thousands of Kandahar residents three days to leave their homes, protesters say
Protesters marched in front of the governor’s office in the city after 3,500 people living in a government-owned residential area were given three days to leave, two protesters told a local journalist working for CNN over the phone.
The protesters, who are also residents of the area, said they were not given reasons for the expulsion order.
“I have nowhere else to go,” said one protester, who did not want to give her name out of fear of reprisal. She said she was poor after losing many members of her family in recent conflicts.
All the families in the area built up their houses with the little money they had, and could not afford to move, the woman said.
A number of protesting women carrying the red, black and green Afghan national flag were harassed by the Taliban, according to eyewitnesses. Local television footage shows protesters, including women and children, blocking a road as they marched down it.
Mohammad Ibrahim, a civil activist in Kandahar, said the Ferqa-e Kohna area, on the edge of the provincial capital, was a government-owned area and land was distributed to government employees under the previous government. Ibrahim said there were likely irregularities and corruption involved in the transfer of properties, resulting in the illegal sales of property to residents. Some of the families had been living in Ferqa-e Kohna for more than 20 years, he said.
Taliban spokesmen could not be reached for comment on the evictions.
There were reports the Taliban had stopped a local journalist from doing his work and beaten another while he was covering the demonstration, according to local news station, Millat Zagh Radio. CNN cannot independently verify the incidents.
Taliban leaders on Twitter dismissed videos being shared online of violence at the women-led protests. The head of the Cultural Commission, Muhammad Jalal, said that these demonstrations were “a deliberate attempt to cause problems,” adding that “these people don’t even represent 0.1% of Afghanistan.”
The Taliban have also sought to curtail protests, and a statement issued by the Taliban interior ministry last week set out strict conditions for any future demonstrations, including prior approval from the Ministry of Justice.
The United Nations last week called on the Taliban “to immediately cease the use of force towards, and the arbitrary detention of, those exercising their right to peaceful assembly and the journalists covering the protests.”
Taliban response to peaceful marches in Afghanistan has been “increasingly violent” and has included the use of live ammunition, batons and whips, causing the death of at least four people, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani said Friday during a press briefing in Geneva.