Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2500 Afghan protesters angered by US

Some 2500 residents of Nangarhar province gathered to demand the release of a tribal leader held by US-led forces.

JALALABAD, Dec 30 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Hundreds of demonstrators in Sherzad district of eastern Nangarahar province on Sunday demanded the release of tribal elder detained by coalition forces.

Tribal elder Zabit Zahir was arrested on Dec 26th in the district.

About 2500 residents and tribal elders of the district marched from Bagh-i-Omomi to Mamakhil village on Sunday morning.

The protesters were asking early release of the elder and an end to unauthorized operations in the area.

Haji Rahmatullah, a tribal elder told Pajhwok Afghan News the march was peaceful.

He however warned if such arrests and operations continued against the tribal elders and residents they will stop cooperation with coalition forces and Afghan government.

Through a written resolution the protesters demanded that all the prisoners arrested by coalition forces should be released in Nangarhar province.

The written resolution said: "If the detention of tribal elders was not stopped, the deterioration of security situation will be the responsibility on those who do such actions"

The resolution said Zabit Zahir is a well-known tribal elder and has worked for peace, if the coalition forces have any evidence against him, they should make it public.

Khybar Momand, district chief of Sherzad told this news agency the protest ended peacefully and police had taken strict security measures.

... Meanwhile coalition forces said they have arrested Zabit Zahir accused of supporting the opposition. (link)
While US-led forces in Nangarhar had to deal with peaceful protests, a CanWest dispatch tells of Canadian soldiers in Kandahar encountering a more 'kinetic' form of protest:
Allison Lampert
CanWest News Service

ZHARI DISTRICT, Afghanistan (Jan 1/07) The soldiers of B Company had spent months preparing for Afghanistan, but the harshness of the war they were about to fight really hit them at their going-away party in June. ...

During the next few months, Canadian troops would expand their presence on the ground throughout Zhari district. Roads that were ominously quiet when the soldiers started their tour are now lined with children.

A few throw rocks, but the vast majority wave at the Canadian convoys. (link)

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