Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Protests in Afghanistan Turning Violent

As much as the civilian killings are condemnable, violent protests are also to be condemned at the same level. Previous experiences have shown that a demonstration against a civilian killing incident accompanied by violence has taken the lives of more people than the incident itself.

Protest is among the recognized rights of humans. This implies that, the people of Afghanistan have the right to protest too. But in Afghanistan protests are turning extremely violent. The protests, a month ago, in Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar against the burning of a copy of Quran by a US pastor took lives of tens of innocent people including eight UN employees. There are many other instances of violent demonstrations in past but the reason is one i.e. the killing of civilians by Afghan and/or NATO forces. Each time civilians are targeted, the anger of people is triggered which brings them on the roads to protest.

Last week, more than a dozen people were killed and many others were injured in Taloqan protests against the killings of two men and two women in a raid by NATO forces. Although the statement by NATO has pronounced the four as insurgents, people including the governor of Takhar province say they were civilians.

As much as the civilian killing is condemnable, violent protests are also to be condemned at the same level. Previous experiences have shown that a demonstration against a civilian killing incident accompanied by violence has taken the lives of more people than the incident itself. Protests have turned into another mean for insurgents to reach their objectives. Common people joining the protests do not hold weapons; it is the insurgents who use protests as a platform to promote fear and insurgency. Investigations found that the Mazar-e-Sharif protest was actually organized by the Taliban members who had joined the peace reconciliation program initiated by Hamid Karzai's administration.

Only condemnation of violent incidents is not enough, practical measures are required to be taken. The incidents where NATO has killed civilians have been mostly born by wrong intelligence reporting by the local agents. It is perceived that the reason for wrong reporting is majorly because agents tend to fulfill their own personal enmities.

It has been the habit of our government that it sends a team for the purpose of reporting on the incidents such as that in Taloqan. Most of the times, these reports are not comprehensive. Even if it is, they are not made public and are not followed by remedial plans. Of course, the incident of Taloqan condemned by the government and has already sent a team of investigators, but nothing will happen and the pains of the victims will heal by the passage of the time until another such incident happens.