Sayed Zafar Hashemi, President Ashraf Ghani’s deputy spokesman, on Wednesday night confirmed that 10 civilians were wounded in Kabul earlier in the day when security forces opened fire on demonstrators outside the Presidential Palace.
The incident occurred when protestors tried to breach the gates of the Presidential Palace mid-afternoon after having marched through the streets of the capital carrying the bodies of the seven Zabul victims beheaded a few days ago by alleged Daesh members.
Tens of thousands of protestors walked the estimated eight kilometers in what was largely a well-controlled and peaceful demonstration.
However, tempers flared late afternoon, as demonstrators called on government to ensure those responsible for the Zabul Seven killings are brought to justice.
By Wednesday night, the majority of demonstrators had dispersed but about 700 were still gathered outside the Presidential Palace.
According to them, they will not leave the area until they get answers to demands they submitted to Ghani earlier in the day.
Braving the cold and rain, the demonstrators – both men and women – were undeterred and continued to chant slogans, calling for government action.
However, representatives from the organizers of the demonstration were still holed up in a meeting with government officials three hours after entering the Presidential Palace.
Hashemi confirmed this and said discussions were centered around the list of demands issued earlier in the day by the protestors.
He went on to say that government had left no stone unturned in its efforts to secure the release of the Zabul Seven while they were being held hostage.
Meanwhile, a very strong security force presence was noticeable around the Presidential Palace with large numbers of Afghan National Army, Police and National Directorate of Security (NDS) members present.
Roads in the immediate vicinity were also still closed off on Wednesday night.