Supporters of exiled First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum held a demonstration on Monday in Shar-e-Naw in Kabul city and warned government that if it failed to meet their demands they would boycott elections and form their own autonomous government.
Protestors also called for the return of Dostum and the immediate release of Qaisar district police chief, from Faryab, Nizamuddin Qaisari.
The protestors also chanted slogans calling on human rights organizations and the international community to encourage government to resolve the crisis.
“If there is a National Unity Government the first vice president must be here,” said a protester Mohammad Zaman.
“It has been fourteen days that people are protesting but (President Ashraf) Ghani has given no answers; the international community and human rights organizations must listen to our voices and take action,” said Farid, another protestor.
They warned government that if Dostum does not return to Afghanistan and Qaisari is not released, they will form their own government.
“We will declare our own, independent government and the other provinces will also start protests,” said another protestor Mohammad Haroon.
“Ashraf Ghani please listen to the people’s voices,” said yet another protestor, Amir.
“We will sit in a tent and we will go to the Presidential Palace and will close down the election commission,” said Mohammad Aslam another protestor.
“Without the presence of the first vice president, elections will not be held,” yet another protestor, Abdullah, said.
Meanwhile the shooting of a suicide bomber close to Monday’s demonstration and the subsequent explosion dispersed the Kabul protestors.
Kabul police said that contrary to earlier reports the suicide bomber had not been killed but was instead wounded.
Police said he had planned to target the demonstration but was gunned down before reaching the location after security forces spotted him.
“Parts of his suicide vest detonated and the bomber was badly wounded and transferred to hospital,” said police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai.
This comes after Faryab residents started protest action over the arrest of Qaisari in the province almost two weeks ago.
Qaisari who is also a close aide to Dostum was taken into custody after reportedly threatening and insulting government officials.
Faryab residents then took to the street in protest over the move - protests that then spread throughout the north and north-eastern provinces.
President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday that the chances of Dostum returning to Afghanistan were high.
A day earlier, Turkish ambassador to Afghanistan Oguzhan Ertugrul said in Kabul that talks are ongoing regarding the return of Dostum.
These remarks also came in the wake of Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish’s trip to Turkey where he held talks with Dostum.
Dostum left Afghanistan for Turkey last year after allegations of sexual assault were lodged against him by Ahmad Eschi, the former Jawzjan governor and ex-member of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan.
Dostum’s close aides say that government has prevented him from returning to the country. However, following rising tension in Faryab over the Qaisari issue and continued demonstrations in the north, sources say government is now talking to Dostum and that there are indications he could return soon.