Relatives of Soldiers Under Siege Close Highway

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Protestors on Friday closed the Kabul-Mazar highway in Baghlan in protest over the ongoing siege of soldiers by the Taliban in the Jani Khil district in Paktia.

‎‎Protestors gathered in Khenjan district of Baghlan province to seek help for 200 soldiers surrounded by insurgents.

The protestors closed Kabul-Mazar highway for a few hours and said that security departments have not taken serious action to release the surrounded soldiers.

The protestors have called on government to rescue the soldiers who have been surrounded by Taliban in Jani Khil district of Paktia for 10 days. They say that most of these soldiers are from Baghlan.

Farooq, a protester said: “If President (Ashraf) Ghani and his CEO, Abdullah Abdullah do not respond to us, we will close Salang highway for one to two months.”

Farid, a soldier in Jani Khil district said: “I am a soldier; I know what is going on with the surrounded soldiers. Why does government not help us?”

Protesters warn that if government does not take serious action and delays a rescue operation, Taliban may arrest them all.

“Dozens of our soldiers are martyred or wounded. Government has not responded to Baghlan people’s requests”, said Zarif Zarif, a member of Baghlan provincial council.

Meanwhile passengers, who are traveling to Northern provinces, are waiting for the reopening of the Kabul-Balkh highway.

Sardar, a father who is with his wounded son, is waiting for the reopening of the highway and said: “We want to go to Kabul, but the way is closed and we are stuck here. My son’s health condition is very bad, he hardly can breathe.”

However after a few hours, the highway reopened to traffic. Protesters warn that if government does not consider their legal requests, they will go on a widespread protest.

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