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Abdullah wants nation to foil poll rigging bids

21 February, 2013

KABUL: President Hamid Karzai’s political rival Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on Wednesday called on the nation not to allow the incumbent government to prolong its stay in power by interfering in next year’s presidential election.

"You should not allow one or two groups to rule you by misusing your sincere intention to cast ballots," Abdullah told participants of a gathering marking the 33rd anniversary of the 1980 uprising against Soviet forces in Kabul. "You should not stay silent on injustices," the former foreign minister said.

The uprising on Feb, 22, 1979 started when thousands of Kabul residents climbed rooftops at night and chanted "Allah-o-Akbar" after two months of the Russian invasion. The revolution spread to other parts of the city like jungle fire, with hundreds of people killed and thousands arrested.

Abdullah, Wolesi Jirga member Syed Hussain Alami Balkhi and former jihadi figures attended the gathering that offered prayers for those laid down their lives for their motherland.

"At that time, two persons could not speak together and Kabul residents were unable to listen to radios at homes fearing their arrests by the then puppet regime, recalled the Afghanistan’s National Coalition (ANC) leader.

Abdullah came hard on the government for failing to overcome administrative corruption and insecurity, accusing it of ignoring the outcome of jihad.

He said the government was out pave the ground for fraud in the 2014 presidential election in order to stay in power.

Afghan Women’s network (AWN) chief Fatana Gilani on the occasion said the Feb. 22 uprising had been a clear lesson for foreign aggressors that the Afghans could never be enslaved. "We defeated Soviet troops, but our sufferings and problems remain," she said.

She stressed the need for a nationwide uprising to bring to an end the bloodshed of Afghans, asking politicians to keep their differences aside and work for unity of the nation.

Lawmaker from Kabul, Syed Hussain Alami Balkhi, recalled the people of Balkh began an uprising against the communist regime the same day when residents of Kabul started the revolt on 22, Feb. 1979 and followed by the people of Herat on March, 15, 1979. Nearly 24,000 people had been killed in Herat uprising, he said.

He said the Afghans had always been subjected to atrocities and injustices whenever they stood in defence of their motherland. "Unfortunately, our own leaders have brought us the current problems," he remarked.

The lawmaker also criticised the US for seeking immunity for its troops under the biletral security agreement, calling the demand as illegal and unjust.

"Giving immunity to the US forces under Afghan law amounts accepting the US occupation of Afghanistan," Balkhi said.

End.

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