Thousands of Afghans rallied around the presidential palace in Kabul today, slamming what they describe as government inaction in the Zabul Province, where the Taliban has dominated for years, and where in recent days ISIS has set up shop, beheading a number of Shi’ite civilians.
President Ashraf Ghani gave a speech on live television amid the demonstrations, promising to bring the perpetrators to justice, but the rally continued to grow, with some demonstrators finally forcing their way into the presidential palace, past heavy security.
Afghan troops opened fire on the demonstrators, with most of them firing in the air to try to scare them off, but at least seven protesters were wounded, including two young girls who the Health Ministry said were trampled in a panic.
Ghani later sought to blame ISIS for the demonstrations as well, claiming the group is trying to “create division” in Afghanistan by attacking the religious minority. Attacks on the Shi’ite Hazaras are common in both Afghanistan and Pakistan among Islamist factions, and generally used as a recruiting tool to drum up support from similar-minded people.
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