Supporters of local commander Alipoor, also known as Commander Shamsheer, who was arrested on Sunday, have again taken to the streets in Kabul on Monday after a day of protest action on Sunday.
By early Monday morning a few hundred people had already gathered on the streets, calling for the release of Alipoor, who was arrested by the National Directorate of Security (NDS).
Alipoor is a local commander in the central provinces, who according to protesters, has been fighting the Taliban in recent weeks in at least three provinces.
On Sunday afternoon, the Dasht-e-Barchi protest, in Kabul city, turned violent when demonstrators started stoning police. Police in turn fired into the air to disperse the crowd but armed protesters reportedly returned fire.
On Monday, Alipoor’s supporters came together in Pul-e-Sokhta area in PD6 in Kabul and called for his immediate release.
The angry protesters said Alipoor has not been fighting government forces, but had been fending off the 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 on Monday 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 was 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-Sokhta 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.
Many roads leading from the western part of Kabul towards the city center have been closed since Sunday.
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.
By early Monday, dozens of protesters were also marching through the city of Mazar for the second day.