Dozens of activists from Afghan nongovernmental organizations have staged a protest in Kabul to call attention to what they say is the growing influence of Islamic State (IS) militants in Afghanistan.
The protesters, many of them Shi’a from Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara minority, complained on January 23 that President Ashraf Ghani’s government is ignoring the activities and growth of the IS group -- particularly in the central province of Ghazni.
The demonstrators called for Afghan security forces to be deployed for military action against IS militants in Ghazni and other provinces.
Afghanistan’s government has denied the existence of IS militants in Afghanistan, saying militants who call themselves members of the Sunni-led extremist group are actually Taliban fighters who have changed their name due to differences with the Afghan Taliban leadership.
Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan on January 23 that the protesters' claims are being investigated and that security forces are in control.