Badakhshan protests: Taliban ‘forcibly’ take 35 protesters to Faizabad for discussions

Sources from Badakhshan have confirmed that Taliban have “forcibly” taken 35 protesters from the Argu and Darayim districts to Faizabad for discussions with Fasihuddin Fitrat, the Taliban’s army chief.

Sources added that local elders are among those who have been taken by the Taliban.

During his second day in Badakhshan, Fitrat is addressing public protests in these districts. He leads a delegation appointed three days ago to assess the grievances in Badakhshan. Although street protests have subsided, the demonstrators maintain their stance.

On Tuesday, the protesters, including local leaders and representatives from the Argu and Darayim districts, were moved to Faizabad for further dialogue with Fitrat.

“The people were again urged to gather in Faizabad today, but they continue to uphold their three demands: the removal of non-native Taliban forces, the surrender of perpetrators to the public, or their trial and punishment according to Islamic law in a Sharia court,” said Momin Zia, a university professor.

Quoted by the BBC, Taliban’s spokesman for the Interior, said the demands of the protesters had been accepted and that changes would be made in the deployment of Taliban forces previously sent to destroy poppy fields. Those Taliban members who fired on civilians are to be brought to trial.

“The local people want those who shot at them to be tried, and the deaths to be handled in a Sharia court. This request is entirely legitimate, and we will introduce those who fired to the courts,” the spokesperson said.

In the ongoing unrest, sources reported that two men, Nizamuddin in Darayim and a newlywed named Abdul Basit in Argu, were killed by Taliban forces. Additionally, 15 others have been injured during the protests.

The protesters previously demanded in a resolution that the “murderers” of these two men be handed over to the public and that Taliban members who do not speak the local language be expelled from Badakhshan. These demands have been echoed since the protests began last Friday.

Religious scholar Isa Mohammadi commented, “The patience of the people of Badakhshan has overflowed. They have raised their voices at the cost of their lives against tyranny and oppression, and all of Afghanistan should appreciate and support this righteous stand. The nation must unite.”

The Taliban have consistently stated that the protests began after their forces attempted to destroy poppy fields, which was met with local opposition. However, some political figures, human rights activists, and political streams in the country say that these protests reflect the people’s distancing from the Taliban, which they attribute to the prevailing despotism in the country.