Protests turned violent on Sunday in Dasht-e-Barchi in Kabul after demonstrators, protesting against the arrest of local commander Alipoor, also known as Commander Shamsheer, took to the streets of the capital.
Alipoor is a local commander in the central provinces, who according to protesters, has been fighting the Taliban in at least three provinces.
On Sunday afternoon, the Dasht-e-Barchi protest turned violent when demonstrators started stoning police. Police in turn fired into the air to disperse the crowd.
The angry protesters said Alipoor has not been fighting government, but fought against Taliban in parts of Maidan Wardak, Ghor and Daikundi provinces, under the structure of the local uprising forces.
The protesters also said they will not end their protest until government releases Alipoor.
“We want to know why Alipoor has been arrested,” one protester said.
“We will not stop our protest if Alipoor is not freed,” another protester said.
“He has not committed any crime, he was just fighting Taliban,” another protester said.
Kabul police chief Sayed Mohammad Roshandel told TOLOnews at about 3pm local time that protesters had set fire to police check posts in the area and were clashing with police forces.
Roshandel said a number of protesters had been armed and that over 20 security force members were wounded during apparent shooting incidents.
According to Roshandel, Alipoor is an illegal armed commander and has been arrested on the orders of the Attorney General’s Office.
“He has been arrested on the orders of the Attorney General’s Office. He will be released after the investigations if he is proven innocent,” said Roshandel.
By late Sunday afternoon, protesters were prevented from marching to the city center by security forces, who closed off roads in the Pul-e-Sukhta area.
By 6pm, protesters were still in the area and shooting in Dasht-e-Barchi was still heard.
A number of security forces were also positioned in Dehmazang area, to prevent protesters from breaking through the security belt in western Kabul and getting through to the Presidential Palace.
After the Kabul demonstration started, protesters also took to the streets in Bamiyan and in Mazar-e-Sharif, in Balkh province. They were also protesting against Alipoor’s arrest.