Tens of thousands of former mujahidin, including top government figures, rallied yesterday to show support for a proposed amnesty for Afghans suspected of war crimes and some called for the death of those demanding prosecution of warlords who were involved in a quarter-century of fighting.
About 25,000 people, many holding pictures of leaders of the mujahidin, or holy warriors, flocked to Kabul's National Stadium as thousands of police were deployed throughout the city amid fears of unrest.
"Whoever is against mujahidin is against Islam and they are the enemies of this country," Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, an influential lawmaker and former mujahidin leader, told the rally.
Later, youths marched through the city, chanting "Death to enemies of Afghanistan!" and "Death to America!" They also shouted "Death to Malalai Joya!" -- a female lawmaker who is among the most outspoken critics of Sayyaff and other prominent mujahidin leaders.
There were no reports of violence at the rally.
Yesterday's rally followed a resolution passed by both houses of Afghanistan's parliament calling for an amnesty that would cover the mujahidin leaders who led the anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s and then plunged the country into a civil war in the early 1990s that cost tens of thousands of lives.
International human rights groups and the UN have condemned the proposal.
The rally appeared to be an attempt by the former warlords to pressure President Hamid Karzai into signing the resolution into law.
Karzai on Thursday told reporters he had yet to receive the resolution and would study it and hold consultations with others before issuing a decision based on the Constitution and Islamic law.
Among those who were present at the rally were prominent members of the government and parliament, including Sayyaff, Vice President Karim Khalili, Karzai's senior security adviser, Mohammed Qasim Fahim, an army chief of staff, Abdul Rashid Dostum, Energy Minister Ismail Khan and former president Burhanuddin Rabbani.
The New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch has called for officials including Khalili and Dostum to face trial before a special court for alleged war crimes -- although no such tribunal has been organized or appears imminent.
In a report, the human rights group also listed Fahim, Ismail Khan and Rabbani as among the "worst perpetrators."
Others who should be brought to trial include Taliban leader Mullah Omar and fugitive warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, it said.
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
‘SACRIFICED’: Hu Weifeng became the sixth doctor to die from COVID-19 at Wuhan Central Hospital, where calls to raise the alarm over the virus were suppressed The death of a Chinese doctor at Wuhan’s “whistle-blower hospital” has prompted a wave of anger at hospital authorities for not protecting front-line health workers in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Hu Weifeng (胡衛鋒), 42, a urologist at Wuhan Central Hospital where the whistle-blower ophthalmologist Li Wenliang (李文亮) worked, died of the virus on Tuesday after a four-month battle. Hu is the sixth doctor from his hospital killed by the virus. Another doctor who spoke out, Ai Fen (艾芬), said that authorities told hospital staff not to wear protective gear so as not to cause panic and reprimanded her for “harming
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear