Hundreds Participate in Rally in Washington DC in Support of Afghan People
22:21 GMT 15.08.2021 (Updated: 23:18 GMT 15.08.2021)
© REUTERS / KEN CEDENOA man holds Afghanistan's flag, as demonstrators shout "Peace in Afghanistan" and hold up signs as they gather in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 15, 2021 on the day Taliban insurgents entered Afghanistan's capital Kabul.
© REUTERS / KEN CEDENO
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Several hundred people gathered at the White House on Sunday afternoon to hold a rally in support of the people of Afghanistan following the events in Kabul, a Sputnik correspondent reports.
Earlier on Sunday, the Taliban* entered the Afghan capital of Kabul to negotiate the transfer of power with the government of President Ashraf Ghani, who then stepped down and left the country. Ghani said his decision was dictated by a desire to prevent violence, as the militants were ready to carry out an attack on the capital.
People of Afghan heritage came to the White House on Sunday with signs, banners, and flags. The signs read "Those responsible should be punished," "When will we know peace," "Stop terrorist safe havens," "No one is free when Afghan lives are oppressed," "Stop violence ," and "Save Afghan women," among others.
Many people were wearing national clothes, according to the Sputnik correspondent. Many came to the White House with their families, including small children and elderly parents.
The rally started at 04:00 p.m. local time on Sunday (20:00 GMT) and was peaceful, with no enhanced law enforcement in sight. People were chanting "we want peace," "we want justice."
The organizers told Sputnik that information about the event was spread via social networks on Sunday. The rally is expected to last until 7 p.m. local time.
One of the organizers, Musa Sidiqi, told Sputnik on Sunday that the rally was organized in solidarity with Muslim and Afghan people.
"Whatever government takes place, we just pray that the local civilians and the people of Afghanistan stop suffering and we pray for a better future for all Afghans, especially the women in Afghanistan, our daughters in Afghanistan, our sisters in Afghanistan. We hope that whatever regime, and whatever government takes place allows education, allows schools, allows all equal rights for all humans in Afghanistan," Sidiqi said.
He pointed out that no side in Afghanistan wants conflict. "We have a family back home, we are calling them and we are in check-up nonstop," he said. "As of right now, everything is peaceful, there is no bloodshed, there is no people shooting or killing."
Sidiqi told Sputnik that he did not expect much from the administration of US President Joe Biden when it comes to Afghanistan.
"I don’t expect this administration to do much more than it already has. If anything I would expect them to make the situation worse by just completely neglecting all together," he said. "What I would expect them to do is take accountability- send foreign aid, make sure that these people can get through winter and make sure that we all come together to rebuild Afghanistan. Regardless of the government, the people deserve a better future."
On Saturday, Biden authorized the deployment of up to 5,000 US troops in Afghanistan to ensure a safe evacuation of US diplomatic personnel. US media reported on Sunday that the Pentagon had authorized the deployment of an additional 1,000 US troops to facilitate US citizens' evacuation from Kabul, bringing the total number of troops to be temporarily stationed in Afghanistan to 6,000.
The takeover of the country by the extremists dramatically increased in Afghanistan after the US and its allies started to pull out troops, resulting now in the militants seizing the entire nation.
On Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to address a UN Security Council's meeting on Afghanistan.
* The Taliban - a terrorist organization banned in Russian and many other countries