News - Afghanistan
Civil society activists and relatives of the 31 kidnapped travelers on Tuesday organized a blood drive in Kabul to provide support for and express solidarity with the victims of last week's suicide bombing in Jalalabad.
Both the activists and grieving family members, set up in large tents, said they were donating blood and calling attention to the plight of those impacted by the deadly suicide bombing in order to expose the evil of terrorism and promote peace in Afghanistan. The Daesh group claimed responsibility for the Jalalabad attack, which killed 34 and left 125 others wounded.
"We want to show our sympathy to the families of the wounded individuals in Jalalabad city and convey our message to the armed groups that they will not reach their goals by killing the citizens of Afghanistan," civil society activist Abdul Mujeeb Khelwatgar said on Tuesday.
Although the tents set up in the capital were originally pitched in order to house protestors demanding government action to release the 31 hostages, who were kidnapped along the Kabul-Kandahar highway over two months ago, they took on a new, or at least dual, purpose this week.
"This tent is not only for the release of 31 hostages, but we have come here to ask for justice and demand security for the 30 million residents of Afghanistan, and to show our sympathy to the families of the citizens killed," activist Muneera Yusuf told TOLOnews.
Tuesday's blood drive was, more than anything, a showing of solidarity by those who have suffered as result of mounting violence and insecurity around the country in recent months. "Our move has a clear message, and that is that we want to show sympathy to all our effected citizens," civil society activist Barry Salaam said.
Over the past week, Parliament has summoned security officials to answer questions about what by most counts appears to be a deteriorating national security environment. Many have criticized national unity government leaders for being consumed by persistent disagreement and political bargaining, instead of addressing the country's abounding security concerns. The government has only just named its nominee for leadership of the Ministry of Defense.
Yet Tuesday's event, while symbolic of the state of national security affairs, was largely un-politicized. "The goal behind our move was to show sympathy to the families of our countrymen in Nangarhar province and those who have lost their lives in other provinces," said Ismail, a relative of one of the 31 hostages.