12 Nov 2015

Taliban Beheads 9-year-old Girl; Sparks Biggest Protest In Afghanistan Capital In 15 Years

Thousands of women took to the streets of Kabul in Afghanistan as a sign of protest for the recent killings of 7 civilian victims who were residents of Zabul. The 7 victims included two woman, two boys, and a young girl who was just nine years old. The little girl’s name was Shukria.
The victims were kidnapped more than a month ago and were beheaded some time between November 6th and 8th. The horrific act was committed as conflict between two rival Taliban factions escalated. It is unclear which of the two groups was responsible for this particular tragedy.
The Taliban’s actions were believed to be a hate crime against Hazara people, a minority group in Afghanistan that is made up mostly of Shia Muslims. All 7 of the victims, including the nine-year-old child, were Hazara.
Crowds of people, which included thousands of women, flooded the roads of Kabul to show their righteous anger. It is believed that this might have been the biggest protest demonstration in Kabul over the last 15 years. 
Many of the outraged marchers were carrying photos of the seven victims, most of which picture the lifeless body of nine-year-old Shukria. According to one Twitter user, the name Shukria means thanks-giving/thanks. “What a slap to humanity,” he said, referring to the Taliban’s brutal murder of the child.
The protesters picked up and carried the coffins of the seven victims through the city as part of the protest. They marched for approximately eight kilometers while holding the coffins that contained the bodies of the murdered men, women, and children. It was a group of women who carried Shukria’s coffin on their own shoulders.
One father who had joined the march in protest carried with him his 11-month old daughter. “I have brought her so she doesn’t meet Shukria’s fate,” he said.
Throughout the march, anguished men and women chanted anti-Taliban slogans and hold up banners demanding that the government do a better job of protecting their people, regardless of their ethnicity. Despite the chanting, the protest was a peaceful one as there were no acts of violence. 
The destination of the march was the Presidential Palace. The protesters ended their march there and pushed against the gates as they cried out, demanding that their president, Ashraf Ghani, take action against the rebel Taliban groups that were responsible for this tragic and senseless killing of innocents. There were even shouts by some that he since he did not prevent it, he should resign from the office.
Palace security responded by firing shots into the air to disperse the crowd. President Ghani later expressed his sentiments on Twitter, saying “We’re all extremely pained by the horrific crime of Zabul. This’s the act of our enemies. V’ll have reprisal. Must stay united, not divided.” (SIC)

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