Small Wars Journal

Protests Over Arrest of anti-Taliban Commander Turn Violent in Afghanistan

Protests Over Arrest of anti-Taliban Commander Turn Violent in Afghanistan by Sayed Salahuddin and Sharif Hassan – Washington Post

Hundreds of ethnic Hazaras rallied in protest here Sunday over the arrest of a rogue anti-Taliban militia commander, resulting in violence that left at least 30 civilians and security forces wounded, police said.

While the Western-backed government of Afghanistan has battled Taliban insurgents for years with mixed success, the actions of local anti-Taliban commanders, operating outside central government control, have led to periodic clashes between formal and informal allies. 

The arrest Sunday in Kabul of Hazara militia commander Alipur, known as “Commander Sword,” spread rapidly among Hazara communities here and other cities, where he was viewed as an ethnic hero of the anti-Taliban conflict. 

Alipur escaped from central Ghowr province during a government raid in October and is wanted by Kabul for alleged human rights abuses. He had built a reputation as a brutal warrior but maintained strong popular support among fellow ethnic Hazaras, especially those in central Afghan provinces, including Ghazni, that have recently come under Taliban attack. 

As news of Alipur’s arrest spread, Hazara protesters flooded the streets of the capital, marching from Hazara-dominated areas toward the presidential palace…

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