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Pro-Dostum riot flares up; Protesters shut election offices in north

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AT-KABUL: Protests over the arrest of militia commander Nizamuddin Qaisari have spread in the north as outraged protesters on Wednesday shut down provincial offices of the Independent Election Commission in Faryab and Sar-i-Pul provinces.

Protesters warned that the election offices will not reopen until the government provides the grounds for the return of the exiled vice president Dostum and the release of commander Qaisari.

If these demand remain unmet, we will close all government institutions, said Ehsanullah Qoyanj, head of Youths Council of Junbish Millie party.

The demonstrators, meanwhile, set on fire hundreds of national ID cards attached with IEC stickers and conditionally boycotted the election process in Faryab province.

In addition, the protesters have closed Aqina port in Faryab and Hairatan port in Balkh province.

This comes as Qaisari, was arrested after a violent dispute during a meeting with leaders of government security forces, last week, drawing angry protests from Dostum’s supporters in a number of provinces including Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, and Balkh.