Kabul — Talks between Ustad Mohaqiq, UNAMA, the Karzai administration and other international organizations came to a successful culmination, after which Mohaqiq agreed to call an end to today’s demonstration, according to UNAMA negotiators who had approached Mohaqiq at his residence before the protest began.
When Mohaqiq came onto the podium to announce an end to the protest, emotional scenes were observed. Sources close to Mohaqiq also say that he ended his hunger strike after more than a week and amid ailing health. He is said to have drunk milk offered by an aged woman said to be the mother of a villager martyred by Kuchis in Behsud. He is still on partial hunger strike, waiting on the government and UNAMA to make good on their promises.
In a tremendous display of unity and a sense of purpose, some 300,000 people marched in Kabul to protest the Kuchi invasion amid security fears, according to our reporter.
The peaceful demonstration began at 6 am from Pul-e Khusk, Shahid Mazari Street, West Kabul. It followed the route through Kot-e Sangi, Kabul University road, up to Deh mazang square. Protesters were then joined by thousands of other demonstrators from Chindawol and Khair Khana.
The protesters were carrying posters of Mohaqiq and martyrs of Behsud, and chanting “down with Karzai.” They were also holding placards that read, “We want Article 14 implemented.”
Article 14 of the Constitution makes it mandatory for the state to implement resources toward the economic assistance of villagers, farmers, herders, and working on the settlement of the Kuchis.
The protesters had a five-point charter of demands, given below:
- Apology and resignation of Karzai, Minister of National Defense and Minister of Interior
- Evacuation of all Kuchis who have captured lands and property of the people of Behsud
- Prosecution of the invading Kuchis
- Resettlement of the displaced local residents and restitution of the damages inflicted on them
- Legal guarantee to prevent future invasion and looting by Kuchis
Earlier this morning, a suicide explosion in Bagh-e Babur left three injured. The national Directorate of Security had warned the protesters about security issues, advising them to stay off the streets. The pleas went unheeded and hundreds of thousands poured into the streets to show their dissatisfaction with what they call an issue ignored by Karzai.
Security agencies had a heavy deployment of personnel along the route to ensure the safety of the protesters. ISAF and Afghan helicopters hovered overhead as the protesters continued on their route.
Earlier this week Khalili had announced that after orders from the government, the Kuchis had started evacuating Behsud.