A demonstration for better living conditions by University of Kabul students in the capital city of Afghanistan turned violent earlier this week, when police opened fire on the students as they marched toward the city center. The students were protesting the poor living conditions in their residential buildings, demanding basic necessities such as water, food, and electricity, according to Radio Free Europe. Further protests have erupted over the deaths of students by police, who claimed that they did not know who the protestors were and thought they could be the Taliban or al Qaeda. Dozens of students were injured, some badly beaten, according to the Washington Post.
Afghan Minister of the Interior Taj Muhammad Wardak stated that the students were armed and that they shot one of the students who died; however, the New York Times reported that the hundreds of students protesting the killing of their classmates appeared to be unarmed. The students are reported as fighting back with rocks. Both Wardak and Afghan President Hamid Karzai stated that outside instigators had provoked the protest, possibly with ties to terrorists, according to the Times. Karzai ordered an investigation into the protest and emphasized that police who fired at students as well as students who provoked violence should be arrested.
Students charged government officials with corruption and blamed the police for overreacting and not being well-trained, according to IRINNews.org. Security in Afghanistan has been listed as one of the primary concerns for Afghanistan by such officials as Karzai, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and US Army General Tommy Franks. The Feminist Majority has been leading the push for the expansion of international peacekeeping troops and an increase of humanitarian and reconstruction aid to Afghanistan.