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Peshawar: 31 arrested for rioting as Afghans celebrate Independence Day

Revellers closed road, pelted police, and raised Anti-Pakistan slogans

SAMAA | - Posted: Aug 19, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago
Posted: Aug 19, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago

Photo: AFP

Thousands of Afghans living in Peshawar were on the streets overnight to celebrate the Independence Day of Afghanistan. Some of the revellers closed roads and pelted the police when officers arrived on the scene. The police have arrested at least 31 people from two locations.

Afghanistan’s Independence Day is celebrated on August 19 to commemorate the Anglo-Afghan treaty of 1919 that led to the end of British control over the country’s foreign affairs.

On the night between Wednesday and Thursday, Afghan nationals took to the streets in the Hayatabad area of Peshawar with Afghanistan’s black, red, and green flag. One Twitter video shows a large crowd milling around on a road, carrying Afghan flags. Slogans and, what appears to be, celebratory gunfire could be heard. Another video – shot earlier on the same spot – records cars with the Afghan flag passing as general traffic snailed behind.

A police FIR and other reports suggest some of the revellers shouted anti-Pakistan slogans, blocked the road, and pelted the police when they arrived to restore order. Some social media accounts claimed that properties were ransacked.

Police arrested 31 people from two locations including Hyatabad Phase-III. An FIR named nine persons and said that two Afghan flags were seized.

Hayatabad is a plush western suburb populated by a large number of Afghan businessmen and their families.

The development in Peshawar came a day after hundreds tried to raise the Afghan national flag in Jalalabad, an eastern Afghan city now under Taliban control. Three people were reportedly killed.

Pakistan is home to 3.2 million Afghan refugees.

Taliban declaration

Traditionally the Taliban have commemorated Afghanistan’s Independence Day every year by issuing a statement. This year, the Independence Day falls when they have already taken charge of the country. However, they continue to follow the old practice.

The Taliban have issued a declaration “on the occasion of the 102nd anniversary of the country’s independence from British rule,” their spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said.

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