Taliban bans protests in eastern Afghan province
Kabul, Sep 6 (EFE).- Taliban has banned protests in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan and warned that demonstrators will be dealt with strictly and with force by their fighters, according to official sources Monday.
“Residents had a plan to hold protests in support of the national flag in Jalalabad city and other areas in eastern Afghanistan but Taliban decided to ban these protests,” a government official in Nangarhar, who asked not to be named, told EFE.
Nangarhar governor’s office, in a separate statement, issued a warning to “those who intend to disrupt security under (the pretext of) protests” and stressed that “no persons are allowed to gather and hold protests.”
“If any people come out to the streets, they will face strict action from the security forces and then they will not have the right to complain,” the statement said.
The Taliban warning came ahead of demonstrations planned by citizens in Jalalabad city and other areas in eastern Afghanistan in support of the tricolor national Afghan flag, which the Taliban has already replaced with their white flag in all parts of the country.
“We have been preparing for protests in Jalalabad city and other parts of eastern Afghanistan to call on the Taliban not to change the national Afghan flag,” Khalil Rahman, a citizen of Jalalabad city who is involved in organizing the protests, told EFE.
“Our tricolor flag has been representing Afghanistan in the world for the past two decades and is a part of the Afghan identity, now Taliban are trying to replace it with their group’s flag and that is the biggest injustice to our nation,” he said.
He added that if the Islamist group wanted to change the flag they should do it through a referendum or other legal means, but as “almost all Afghans want this flag and they are trying to change it means that Taliban are standing against the will of an entire nation.”
This is the first time that the Taliban officially imposed a ban on protests in the country since they captured capital Kabul on Aug.15.
Before this, protests were held in several provinces, including three demonstrations by women in Herat and the capital Kabul in support of women’s rights and the national flag.
Holding protests was strictly banned under the Taliban regime during 1996-2001.
However, in recent months, particularly during the peace peace talks, the Taliban on several occasions promised to respect all fundamental and legal rights of Afghans, including the right to hold protests. EFE