Hundreds of people protested in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar Tuesday, against what they say are Taliban orders for citizens to leave their homes on the eve of winter. Protesters marched in front of the governor’s office in the city after 3,500 people living in a government-owned residential area were given three days to leave, two protesters told a local journalist working for CNN over the phone. The protesters, who are also residents of the area, said they were not given reasons for the expulsion order.
“I have nowhere else to go,” said one protester, who did not want to give her name out of fear of reprisal. She said she was poor after losing many members of her family in recent conflicts. All the families in the area built up their houses with the little money they had, and could not afford to move, the woman said. A number of protesting women carrying the red, black and green Afghan national flag were harassed by the Taliban, according to eyewitnesses. Local television footage shows protesters, including women and children, blocking a road as they marched down it.
Mohammad Ibrahim, a civil activist in Kandahar, said the Ferqa-e Kohna area, on the edge of the provincial capital, was a government-owned area and land was distributed to government employees under the previous government. Ibrahim said there were likely irregularities and corruption involved in the transfer of properties, resulting in the illegal sales of property to residents. Some of the families had been living in Ferqa-e Kohna for more than 20 years, he said.