The protests in Faryab entered their ninth day on Sunday and demonstrators took a vote for a new governor of the northern province.
Faryab is currently facing unrest because of President Ashraf Ghani's appointment of Mohammad Daud Laghmani, a non-resident, as a new governor. At least four names were reportedly put on the unofficial ballot, but protestors said they would also respect nominations made by Abdul Rashid Dostum to the Presidential Palace.
The protests began nine days ago when the new governor was announced. He took office at an army base in the city of Maimana in Faryab last week.
“If [the vote] is not accepted, the protests will continue with more power,” said Ehsanullah Qoanch, a protester.
“We will accept anyone who is accepted by Marshal Dostum,” said Abdullah, a protester.
The head of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), Shamim Khan Katawazi, said that some political figures have been in talks with Dostum for the last few days to end the protests.
“Daud Laghmani is the governor of Faryab and he has started his work. So far, we have not made another decision,” Katawazi said.
Some lawmakers said that the decision by the government to establish the new governor’s office at the army base will have negative consequences for the country’s army, as they should not be exploited in political disputes.
“Military forces should not be used for political aims,” said former Faryab governor Mohammadullah Batash.
Meanwhile, some Faryab residents said that a list of individuals is about to be sent to the Palace in a move that is being facilitated by former president Hamid Karzai and is intended to end the protests.
“Anyone who is accepted by the Faryab people and is accepted by Mr. Marshal should be appointed as governor,” said Shafiqa Sakha Yulchi, an MP from Faryab.
Members of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan – or Junbish-e-Milli – have threatened to continue their protests if the mediation efforts do not lead to a result.