Evictions trigger anti-Taliban protests by thousands in Afghanistan's Kandahar
Thousands of Afghans on Tuesday protested against the Taliban in Kandahar after residents were asked to vacate a residential army colony. The affected area is predominantly occupied by the families of retired army generals and other members of the Afghan security forces, reports said. Notably, Afghanistan has witnessed many sporadic protests against the Taliban since its hostile takeover of the war-torn country.
The protest was triggered after the families living in the Firqa Army Division were asked to vacate within three days, a government official told Reuters. At least 3,000 affected families gathered in front of the governor's house to protest against this forced eviction on Tuesday. Reportedly, all these families have been living in the district for more than 30 years.
Protesting residents who had blocked a road told the Asvaka news agency that the Taliban is planning to settle their fighters in their houses. According to residents, the Taliban has also asked them not to take any household items with them. Some people have reportedly also built their houses on government land in the army colony in the last two to three decades.
Speaking to the news agency, the residents lamented that they were struggling financially and couldn't even afford food. They also demanded a stop to harassment by the Taliban.
Since coming back to power, the Taliban has been facing resistance against its policies from within the Afghan society. A day after the Taliban announced their new government, dozens of women protested on the streets of Kabul, demanding equal rights and women's representation in government. Reports of demonstration also came from other places like Herat, Badakhshan, Nangarhar, and Kunar provinces recently.
Meanwhile, the Taliban has restricted all demonstrations in the country unless permission is granted by the justice ministry. Notably, many protests against the Taliban have ended in deadly clashes. The United Nations, too, has taken note of many incidents in which the Taliban used live ammunition, batons, and whips against peaceful protesters. The Taliban has suspended internet services in several places as well.
Separately, the United Nations on Friday said that the Taliban's response to peaceful protests was becoming increasingly violent. It also said that it is "crucial that those in power" listen to protesting Afghans. "We call 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."