Kabul: The Olympian national hero, Rohullah Nikpai, will be warmly welcomed on landing home Thursday, amid popular fury caused by an Iranian news agency.
Roads and junctions have been decorated with his portraits as people prepare to celebrate his victory. Large numbers of people would receive him at the airport to escort him to his residency. A building at Pul-e-Surkh, Karte Se, has been decorated to be used as the visiting venue.
On the other hand, the people were angered after a state-run Iranian news agency, Fars News, made disparaging comments about Rohullah’s Olympic victory. Fars claimed that Rohullah still lives as a refugee in Iran, and that the people of Afghanistan “would be far from terrorism, drugs and war for a few days while they celebrate the victory of a barber.”
Rohullah has been working as a barber in Kabul since his family returned from Iran after the toppling of the Taliban regime. One the sidelines of his job that earns his family its bread and butter, Rohullah trains in Taekwondo and bodybduilding.
The National Olympic Committee of Afghanistan has condemned Far’s report.
Newspapers reacted to Fars, calling for it to apologize for the comments. Outlook Afghanistan, a major English daily in Kabul, strongly condemned Fars’s coverage, calling it “ridiculous” and “jealous.” An editorial published in the Daily Outlook read:
They should bear in mind that making fun of our national hero is to dishonor and make fun of Afghanistan and its people. We strongly condemn the impolite, jealous and contemptuous reporting by the propagating tool of the Iranian regime … which works to abuse its neighbors and fool the Iranians.