Thousands of Hazaras protest in Kabul over land dispute with nomads
Thousands of members of Afghanistan's Hazara ethnic minority protested Tuesday on the streets of Kabul over a land dispute with the nomadic Kochi tribe, reported dpa.
Hazara leaders charged that a dozen of their people were killed and thousands displaced in Kochi attacks in the central province of Wardak after the nomads entered the Besud district there in recent months in search of grazing land for their livestock.
Hazara people based in the district said the Kochi destroyed their harvest and houses, and this week, Haji Muhammad Muhaqiq, an Afghan lawmaker and leader of the Hazara community, went on hunger strike in protest of what his people have called a land grab.
Government officials gave no numbers of protest participants, but rally organizers said more than 8,000 people took part.
Demonstrators shouted slogans against the Kochis and carried posters of Hazaras they said were killed in Kochi attacks.
The dispute began a year ago over grazing rights in the Besud district. The Afghan government assigned two commissions to resolve the dispute, but they failed to do so.
President Hamid Karzai subsequently ordered the Kochis to leave the district, prompting the Afghan National Directorate of Security to warn that Hazaras had no need to demonstrate, but the Hazara community ignored the warning.