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Residents of Kandahar, Afghanistan protest alleged Taliban evictions from their homes

Protesters marched outside the city’s governor’s office after 3,500 people living in a government-owned residential neighborhood had three days to leave, two protesters said by phone to a local reporter working for CNN.

The protesters, who are also residents of the area, said they had not received the reasons for the eviction order.

“I have nowhere to go,” said a protester, who refused to give her name for fear of reprisals. She said she was poor after losing many family members in recent conflicts.

All the families in the area built their homes with what little money they had and couldn’t afford to move, the woman said.

A number of women demonstrators wearing the red, black and green Afghan national flag were harassed by the Taliban, eyewitnesses said. Local television footage shows protesters, including women and children, blocking a road as they descend.

Mohammad Ibrahim, a civilian activist from Kandahar, said the Ferqa-e Kohna area on the outskirts of the provincial capital was government-owned and the land had been distributed to government employees under the previous government. Ibrahim said there were likely irregularities and corruption involved in the transfer of properties, resulting in illegal sales of properties to residents. Some families had lived in Ferqa-e Kohna for more than 20 years, he said.

Taliban spokespersons could not be reached to comment on the evictions.

According to local news station Millat Zagh Radio, the Taliban allegedly prevented a local journalist from doing his job and beat another while covering the protest. CNN cannot independently verify incidents.

Residents of Kandahar, Afghanistan protest alleged Taliban evictions from their homes
Protests against the Taliban regime have erupted in parts of Afghanistan since the militant group took control of the country last month, following the withdrawal of US troops. The Taliban cracked down on protests, often violently, with reports of journalists and activists being detained and mistreated.
Last week, journalists with Afghan online media EtilaatRoz told CNN they were arrested while covering a protest by Afghan women against Pakistani involvement in Afghanistan and demanding equal rights in the capital Kabul. . The protest took place outside a police station and the two men said they were taken inside and beaten up.
In another protest last week, Taliban fighters used whips and sticks against a group of women demonstrating in Kabul, following the announcement of a hard-line, all-male interim government.
Residents of Kandahar, Afghanistan protest alleged Taliban evictions from their homes

Taliban leaders on Twitter rejected videos shared online about violence at female-led protests. The head of the Cultural Commission, Muhammad Jalal, said the protests were “a deliberate attempt to cause problems”, adding that “these people do not even represent 0.1% of Afghanistan”.

The Taliban have also sought to limit protests, and a statement released by the Taliban’s Home Office last week established strict conditions for any future protests, including prior approval from the Justice Department.

The United Nations last week called on the Taliban “to immediately end the use of force and arbitrary detention of those exercising their right to peaceful assembly and of journalists covering the protests.”

The Taliban’s response to the peaceful marches in Afghanistan has been “increasingly violent” and included the use of live ammunition, batons and whips, killing at least four people, the door said on Friday. speech of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, at a press conference. press conference in Geneva.

Even before the Taliban returned to power, protracted conflicts, poverty, consecutive droughts, economic decline and the coronavirus pandemic had exacerbated an already dire situation in which 18 million Afghans – nearly half the population – needed help, according to UN agencies.
As winter approaches, many people could run out of food by the end of the month, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said earlier this week, adding that poverty rates had skyrocketed. since the return of the Taliban to power.