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Protesters in Kabul run amok after arrest of local commander

KABUL: A protest that was staged earlier on Sunday over the arrest of a local commander Alipoor turned violent after demonstrators ran amok and set some police outposts on fire in Western Kabul.

A spokesman for the Kabul Police, Basir Mujahid, said that hundreds of ethnic Hazaras rallied from Dasht-e-Barchi to Shaheed Mazari square in the west of Kabul, and a few hours later, demonstrators turned violent and clashed with the police.

Protestors who brought the western Kabul to a halt hurled stones at police and set fire to two police check points in the area. He said two policemen were wounded in clash with protesters.

Police were ordered to avoid force and abide by the law, he said.

Some unconfirmed reports say that two protestors were also wounded during clashes with police.

Witnesses said police fired on the air to disperse protesters.

Alipoor a.k.a. ‘Commander Sword’ was arrested on Sunday morning in Kabul by security forces on charges of possessing illegal arms. Alipoor who is immensely popular among ethnic Hazaras, in Daikundi province, as a vigilante against militant Taliban has been much sought after by the government forces. Nearly two weeks ago, security forces raided the hometown of the ‘rogue commander’ Alipoor in Daikundi and bombed some areas killing scores of civilians. But the commander had fled the area and his whereabouts were a mystery for the government until he was spotted by armed forces in Kabul.

Government has been attempting to eliminate illegal armed groups for years now. A few months, security forces arrested Commander Qaisari who is loyal to First Vice President Gen. Dostum for illegal activities outside his jurisdiction. That government action, however, met with an unanticipated violence as thousands of people protested Qaisari’s arrest.

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