Kabul residents on Saturday criticized Massoud supporters for having indiscriminately fired into the air as they drove through the streets of the capital in convoys to mark the day.
September 9 is marked each year as the day Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated – which is also the start of Martyrs Week. Saturday was Massoud’s 16th death anniversary.
However, rapid bursts of gunfire were heard throughout the city for most of the day – a move slammed by the public.
Angry residents complained that supporters, riding around in cars covered with Massoud’s pictures, also fired off weapons close to check points.
As a result of the shooting, numerous roads around the city were closed off by security forces.
Kabul residents blasted security departments for not having controlled the supporters, who had been putting people’s lives at risk, they said.
“Everyone is afraid. Afghanistan is not safe and then they fire in this situation,” a Kabul resident, Ashraf Ghulam Alizada, said.
Another resident Mohammad Rafi Osmani said there could be three reasons for the lack of control. He said “either the government does not want to stop the convoys, or government is involved in it, or it cannot (stop the gunmen).”
Meanwhile, Kabul garrison commander Mohammad Afzal Aman said they concentrated mostly on maintaining the security of the Loya Jirga tent, where the main ceremony was held.
Aman said security forces had identified a number of culprits and would arrest them in the days to come.
“Myself and a number of officers and a group of soldiers came out to the streets to stop the firing. But unfortunately we couldn’t find them. I also have heard that they have fired in parts of Kabul,” said Aman.
But residents have questioned why supporters have to drive through the streets firing into the air.
Dor Mohammad, a Massoud supporter, said government does not give them their dues and that they feel it is their right to shoot into the air.
“Our women have lost their husbands and our children are orphaned. We raise our voices and ask for justice, but government does not ensure our rights. Let them do this and take their rights in this way,” said Dor Mohammad.
But in another part of the city, a number of residents commemorated Massoud’s assassination in peace by giving food to the needy and reading the Quran. A number of artists also painted murals of Massoud on a wall in memory of him.
“We thought instead of creating problems and closing streets, it was better to deliver a good message to the people. We came here and painted pictures of the national hero on the wall to tell the people that the national hero was not familiar only with weapons and war,” said Rafi Jasoor, one artist.