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Thousands protest against Taliban over eviction order

KANDAHAR: Thousands of Afghans protested against the Taliban in Kandahar yesterday, according to a former government official and local television footage, after residents were asked to vacate a residential army colony.

Protesters gathered in front of the governor's house in Kandahar after around 3,000 families were asked to leave the colony, according to the former government official who witnessed the crowds.

Footage from local media showed crowds of people blocking a road in the city.

The affected area is predominantly occupied by the families of retired army generals and other members of the Afghan security forces. The families, some of whom had lived in the district for almost 30 years, had been given three days to vacate, the official said.

PERMISSION

Taliban leaders have vowed to investigate any instances of abuse but have ordered that demonstrators must seek permission before holding protests.

The United Nations said last Friday that the Taliban's response to peaceful protests was becoming increasingly violent.

Meanwhile, the Taliban has denied that its co-founder has been killed in a shootout with rivals, following rumours about internal splits nearly a month after its lightning victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was named to the deputy prime minister post last week, issued a voice message rejecting claims that he had been killed or injured in a clash.

"He says it is lies and totally baseless," Mr Shaheen said. - REUTERS

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