Protests broke out in Maimana, capital of Afghanistan’s Faryab province, on Thursday after the Taliban arrested one of their own commanders, Uzbekistan-born Makhdoom Alam.
A veteran battlefield commander and “shadow governor” of Faryab under the Taliban’s “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” Alam was the highest-ranking Uzbek in the Taliban hierarchy before his arrest.
Alam was arrested in Mazar-e-Sharif on Wednesday for murky reasons, reportedly on the orders of Mullah Fazel Akhund, the Taliban’s deputy defense minister. Maimana was the scene of protests because the population is majority Uzbek, the third-largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.
The Taliban has been treating Afghanistan’s Uzbeks poorly ever since it seized power over the summer. In December, Taliban fighters were accused of evicting over a thousand Uzbeks and