Nangarhar students carrying Taliban, IS flags being probed
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Local officials on Tuesday promised investigating a recent rally in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, where participants carried the flags of a militant outfits.
Some days ago, a number of Nangarhar University students, carrying the flags of Islamic State (IS) and Taliban, staged a protest in the city against what they called hostel accommodation problems.
The students’ action triggered a strong reaction from some civil society activists and social media users, who asked the government to take stern action over the brazen show of support to militants.
One of social media users, Roohul Amin Hassan, wrote on his Facebook account: “Nangarhar University has been converted into a terrorist base, where students are suffering from multiple problems.”
He urged the government, particularly the National Directorate of Security (NDS), to initiate serious action against organisers of the rally.
Another social media user, Mohammad Rafiq Zazai, asked the authorities to follow in the footsteps of the Sudanese government, which indiscriminately cracked down on Arab Spring rallies in 2013.
“Sudan’s intelligence agents in plainclothes entered crowded protests and captured 150 students. After that, no one dared protest against the government,” he recalled.
Saeedullah, another social media user, said Nangarhar University students had repeatedly rallied in support of militants. He also called for the government not to allow a recurrence of such incidents.
Nangarhar University Chancellor Babrak Miakhail said an NDS delegation had arrived after the rally and collected information on the issue. He also supported calls for action against the students creating a law and order situation.
The governor’s spokesman, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the governor had also met the NDS team and other security officials on the rally.
Khushal Khalil, a political expert and resident of Nangarhar, said supporting militants was not a new issue in Nangarhar University. Fueling extremism has been a long-running problem, according to him.
The university was also ignored by the government of former president Hamid Karzai, he alleged. Since Karzai did not want the students to protest against him, he did not bring reforms, he claimed.
He said old lecturers of the university were trying to remove newly-appointed teachers, who were against their ideas. The clash of perceptions has paved the ground for extremists on the campus.
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