Several killed after residents of Afghan province protest orders from Taliban

Nangarhar province, Afghanistan
Nangarhar province, Afghanistan

At least four people were reported killed on Thursday during clashes between protesters and Taliban security forces in eastern Afghanistan.

Residents in Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan, held a demonstration after being told by Taliban authorities to vacate their homes for the construction of a customs clearing facility, according to witnesses and officials.

Protesters blocked a busy highway linking Afghanistan to Pakistan and refused to allow the destruction of their properties. Taliban security forces fired gunshots to disperse the crowd and clear the highway to allow trade convoys to resume their journey in both directions, eyewitnesses reported.

An area information and culture department spokesperson confirmed the clashes, saying residents “created chaos in response” to the official order. Arafat Mohajer said that the violence resulted in the death of a Taliban officer and “a number of people who were occupying the [state[ land [illegally].” He did not share further details.

Protesters refuted the official claims, saying they had the deeds and owned the land.

A resident in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, confirmed to VOA by phone that firing by Taliban security forces killed three protesters.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan three years ago and faced no public opposition to their hard-line policies until this month.

Last week, farmers and residents took to the streets in northeastern Badakhshan province to protest the eradication of poppy fields by the Taliban counternarcotics units.

Security forces opened fire to disperse the demonstrators, killing two people.

Hibatullah Akhundzada, the reclusive Taliban supreme leader, has imposed a nationwide ban on poppy cultivation and production, usage, transportation and trade of all illicit drugs in Afghanistan.

Some information for this report came from AFP.

Several killed after residents of Afghan province protest orders from Taliban