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Minority Hazaras Protest In Kabul Over Power Project

Protest organizers from Hazara community attend a gathering a day before a planned demonstration in Kabul on May 15.

Thousands of minority Shi’ite Hazaras are protesting in the Afghan capital over a multimillion-dollar power-line project.

Police have blocked main access roads into the center of Kabul to prevent the protesters from getting near the presidential palace.

Hazara leaders are demanding that the planned 500-kilovolt transmission line linking Turkmenistan with Kabul be routed through the central province of Bamiyan, which has a large Hazara population.

The line was originally set to pass through Bamiyan, but the government decided to reroute it through the Salang Pass north of Kabul, saying the shorter route would expedite the project and save millions of dollars in costs.

The line, intended to provide secure power to 10 provinces, is part of the wider TUTAP project to link Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters