Afghan VP Amrullah Saleh takes to street, targets Pakistan and Taliban
In an unprecedented development, Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s bete noire, took part in a civilian protest against the Taliban and Pakistan in Kabul streets on Tuesday. Pakistan has been accused by Afghanistan of backing the insurgent group, which has increased its activities in the wake of withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan. Saleh, one of the most protected persons in Afghanistan, has been a constant target of Pakistani ISI and their progeny Haqqani network.
Saleh also chanted Allah-o-Akbar and slammed Pakistan for its support to the Taliban. “God is not Pakistan’s product,” the Afghan vice president said.
“It was such an historic moment to echo the Kabul masses ” Allah o Akbar, death to Talib terrorists & their backer”. Unforgettable moments of emotions & patriotism,” Saleh said on Twitter after taking part in the protest.
He had earlier said that public hangings, extra-judicial killings and destruction of civility are uniting the people of Afghanistan against the Taliban. “Shame to its backer(s),” Saleh had said in the tweet posted hours before he took part in the protest.
For six year, Saleh was a key figure in the anti-Taliban fight as head of the National Directorate for Security (NDS). He became Afghanistan’s vice president in 2020. An ethnic Tajik, Saleh was a prominent member of the movement which fought the Taliban during the 1990s.
In July, Saleh had said that the diplomatic community of Pakistan is working hard to painting and decorating a fictional image for the Taliban. “On the ground, however, Talibs 2.0 is nothing but an Afghanistan replica of IS-K and Al-Qadea, providing bases to foreign “good and bad terrorists” The “good” LeT is their buddies in allegiance,” Saleh had said in a tweet.
Last week, residents in the western province of Herat braved the streets despite nearby fighting to protest against the Taliban. Other cities quickly organised to join from their homes in the evenings, as a message of support for security forces who are fighting the insurgent group.
A car bomb blast followed by sporadic gunfire hit Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Tuesday near the heavily fortified “Green Zone”, leaving three civilians and three attackers dead, security officials said amid an upturn in violence by Taliban militants.
At least seven other people were wounded, said health ministry spokesperson Ghulam Dastagir Nazari. An interior ministry spokesperson said security forces’ operations ended with the death of all attackers.
A spokesperson of Kabul police said that at least 30 civilians were rescued from the blast site.
Minutes after the blast, hundreds of civilians in Kabul came out on to the streets and chanted Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest) to express their support for Afghan government forces and opposition to the Taliban.
The Taliban, meanwhile, said their fighters killed a district governor of central Maidan Wardak province on Tuesday, the latest in a series of killings by the insurgent group aimed at eliminating senior government officials and social activists.
The Taliban have captured most of the rural parts of Afghanistan and the security forces are concentrating their efforts to stop them from entering urban centres and reclaiming what has been lost. According to latest figures released by Afghan watchers (till August 3), the Taliban controls 140 provinces, with 151 contested and the government holding 131.