Security forces fire on Afghan protesters in NE, killing 3

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Security forces opened fire Tuesday on dozens of demonstrators in northeastern Afghanistan demanding clean tap water and electricity, killing three and injuring 42 others, protesters and provincial authorities said.

Some 200 people rallied in the city of Faizabad outside the offices of the governor of Badakhshan province demanding clean drinking water, the immediate inauguration of a new power plant and an end to insecurity in the province.

Protester Sebghatullah Andeshmand told The Associated Press the demonstrators wanted Gov. Mohammad Zakarya Sawda, to respond to their demands but that guards at his office building fired on them with live rounds.

Provincial hospital medical director Shafiqullah Hamdard said three people were killed and 42 others were injured.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to phone calls requesting comment. Provincial police spokesman Sanaullah Rohan said the governor’s security guards — and not police — fired on demonstrators.

Andeshmand said it’s been 20 days since residents have had clean tap water. He said electrical power is disconnected and insecurity has increased, which “has changed the city into hell in this hot winter.”

Andeshmand said construction work on a local power plant funded by Germany has been completed but the governor is delaying its inauguration, waiting for President Ashraf Ghani to attend.

Meanwhile, Andeshmand said, Taliban fighters have reached the gates of the city of Faizabad.

Elsewhere, five civilians in western Ghor province were killed in a crossfire between Taliban fighters and Afghan government forces, said Abdul Zahir Faiz.

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