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Afghans protest against Taliban in Geneva

Afghan demonstrators mourn the loss of opposition leader, Ahmed Sahah Massoud, outside the UN headquarters in Geneva Keystone

More than 250 Afghans, who live in Switzerland, have taken to the streets of Geneva in a show of solidarity against terrorism. During their peaceful demonstration in front of the United Nations headquarters, they called for a change of power in Kabul and the removal of the ruling Taliban.

Holding banners they implored the international community to spare Afghanistan’s civilian population if and when the United States decides to take military action against the ruling Taliban if they fail to hand over the suspected terrorist, Osama bin Laden.

The protesters unanimously condemned the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, and pledged their solidarity for the people of the United States.

They expressed anger at the ruling Taliban and its alleged support of terrorist activity. Osama bin Laden, who is the US’s prime suspect in the New York and Washington attacks, has enjoyed sanctuary in the country for the past five years.

They said that by protecting bin Laden, the Taliban risked “sacrificing the Afghan people”.

Many of the protesters also carried pictures of the head of the Afghan opposition forces, Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was assassinated on September 9, two days before the devastating attacks in the US. In the pouring rain many of them mourned their loss by laying flowers next to posters of Massoud.

The opposition-led northern alliance forces have been fighting the Taliban ever since they stormed to power in 1996.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR