The protests in north and north-eastern provinces continued for the 18th day amid reports about a possible return of the First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum to the country next week. Dostum is exile in Turkey since May 2017.
The return of Dostum and release of Nizamuddin Qaisari, a close aide to Dostum and a police chief in Faryab, are the main demands of the protestors.
In an unprecedented move in Faryab, a women-only protest was held on Friday where they insisted on same demands. Some of them were chanting slogans and rising their demands in English language.
“We the Faryab women ask government to end its anti-national, fascist, dictatorship, monopolist and single ethnic-based politics and ensure a situation of national consensus and partnership for all ethnic groups in the country where all tribes live together,” said Sakina Ahmadi, a protester.
“Universities and government offices are faced with many problems. We want government to resolve these problems,” another protester, Saliha, said.
The protesters so far have closed provincial offices of the Independent Election Commission and other government offices in five provinces in the north. They have warned to keep the offices closed until their demands are met.
Spokesman of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, Bashir Ahmad Tayyanj, meanwhile said demonstrations will not end unless government addresses people’s demands.
“Our protests will continue until our people’s demands are met. Ports have been closed and offices have been closed or will be closed. These offices will remain closed until we receive a positive response from government,” said Tayyanj.
This comes after a close aide to Dostum said the first vice president will return home next week on Sunday.
“Mr. first vice president will return to the country the day after tomorrow. Government is fully ready to welcome him at a high-level event,” said Abdullah Qarluq, deputy head of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan.
Presidential Palace has not commented about the agreement on Dostum’s return. However, Qarluq said government’s delegation has agreed on case of allegations against Dostum during their talks in Turkey.