Thousands of demonstrators from Afghanistan's Hazara minority protest a proposed power line route, posing a major challenge to President Ashraf Ghani's government. Julie Noce reports.
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Kabul to protest the route of a planned power transmission line that they say will exclude the regions they live in. People from the country's Hazara minority want the line to pass through two provinces with large Hazara populations. Demonstrators say the current plan for the route amounts to discrimination. We have gathered here to raise our voices, this woman said. We demand equal justice for every Afghan. The mainly Shi'ite ethnic group has long face persecution but are well organized politically. The rally underscores political tensions facing President Ashraf Ghani's government as it fights the Taliban, and tries to get the economy back on its feet. Only around 30 percent of Afghanistan is connected to electricity. Modernizing the creaking power system, which frequently experiences blackouts, has been a top priority.