200 Afghan Nomads in Violent Kabul Protest


Around 200 Afghans burned tyres and blocked key roads near the presidential palace Tuesday in angry protest after bodyguards of a lawmaker allegedly killed at least one person over a land dispute.

The unrest flared just southeast of the Afghan capital Kabul when members of the Kuchi nomadic tribe clashed with guards working for the lawmaker.

The interior ministry said one person was killed and three others were wounded during the clash.

It is thought the dispute came over a planned land development by the politician opposed by the Kuchis, frequently seen on Afghan roads moving between areas with their herds of goats and other animals.

A statement from the interior ministry said an armed clash "over land" broke out between the Kuchis and associates of the lawmaker around 8:00 am (03:30 GMT).

The Kuchis then brought their protest into the center of Kabul, near President Hamid Karzai's fortified palace and other key government offices, an Agence France Protest photographer at the scene said.

The photographer reported seeing three dead bodies which the protesters claimed to have brought with them from the earlier unrest.

He added that some protesters were carrying sticks and burning tyres and that security forces had sealed off the area and were firing water cannon to try to control the crowd.

The lawmaker and Kabul police were not immediately contactable by AFP, while the interior ministry said it was still checking details of the unrest in Kabul.

Pashtun nomads, estimated to number 2.4 million, move around Afghanistan in search of pastures for their camels, sheep and donkeys.

In 2010, there were heavy clashes between resident Hazaras and Pashtun nomads over pastures in Afghanistan's central highlands.

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