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Kochis block Kabul-Kandahar highway

Kochis block Kabul-Kandahar highway

Jul 26, 2011 - 16:14

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Kabul-Kandahar Highway was blocked for hours by protesting Kochis in the Arghani area of Paghman district of Kabul on Tuesday, witnesses said.

A Pajhwok reporter who visited the area at 3pm said the nomads had placed rocks on the busy roads in the Bar Kalay area of Arghandi to protest the killing of a man from the tribe. 

A district police officer, who wished not to be named, said the protestors were armed residents of the area. However, he would not explain why the road had been closed. 

A passenger, Abdul Ghafar who reached the area on foot, said the Kochis had blocked the highway at three points. He added there were womeninfo-icon carrying sticks, armed men standing behind them and unarmed people preventing passengers from travelling.

Ghaffar claimed seeing the body of a Kochi tribesman killed by police and two injured people. He blamed police for the incident that left hundreds of passengers and cargo vehicles stranded.

One local official said on condition of anonymity that the Kochis had pitched a camp in the area and wanted to grab land. The nomads claimed the land was part of their pasture, but police have been directed not to allow anyone to set up camps in the area. 

In line with the directives, the nomads were prevented from grabbing the land. As a result, they staged a demonstration and beat up policemen, the official said.

Mohammad Masoom, a passenger travelling from Kandahar to Kabul, asked: "Why are they creating problems for commuters in this hot weather? I have been trapped here along with my wife and children for more than five hours."

Haji Alok Khan Kakozai, a Kochi leader in Kabul, said members of his tribe wanted to build a house in the area, but police fired on them, killing one man and wounding another.

He insisted the Kochis, having land ownership documents, reserved the right to build a house in the area. As of 4pm, the highway remained closed.


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