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Jul 23, 2016 18:04 (IST)
Hazara Protests In Kabul: All About It

Thousands of minority Shiite Hazaras demonstrated in Kabul Saturday, demanding that a key power transmission line pass through their electricity-starved province, in the second major protest over the issue this year.

The 500-kilovolt TUTAP power line, which would connect the Central Asian nations of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan with electricity-hungry Afghanistan and Pakistan, is seen as a crucial infrastructure project.

But leaders from the minority group are demanding that the line be routed through Bamiyan, one of the most deprived areas of Afghanistan with a large Hazara population.

The multi-million-dollar line was originally set to pass through the central province but the government rerouted it through the mountainous Salang pass north of Kabul, saying the shorter route would speed up the project and save millions of dollars.

Hazara leaders in the ethnically divided nation lashed out at the Pashtun president, calling the decision prejudiced against the Hazaras, a community that has suffered a long history of oppression.

Today's protest follows a similar demonstration in May, which drew tens of thousands of people.

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