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Tue, Oct

Provinces Celebrate 96 Years of Independence

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Thousands of Afghans from around the country on Wednesday took to the streets waving flags in celebration of the 96th Anniversary of Independence from Britain.

With a spirit of celebration in the air residents from Kabul to Mazar-e-Sharif, Jowzjan to Badakhshan and Herat to Farah sang and danced in joy as celebrations continued throughout the day.

Security force members also joined in the fun at some military camps, while hundreds of youngsters lined up to have the flag painted on their faces.

Residents in northern Balkh province, kicked off their celebrations with a rally in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the provincial capital and all roads leading to the Hazrat Ali Shrine – the Blue Mosque - were closed to traffic as youngsters bearing flags sang and danced in joy.

"Independence is a heritage of our ancestors and we must celebrate it each year," said Jawad, a high school student in Balkh.

Members of Balkh Ulema Council also joined the youngsters in the celebrations and members called on clerics to support the security forces in battling insurgency.

Jowzjan, Sar-e-Pul, Samangan and Badakhshan were among other northern and northeastern provinces that played out similar scenes.

But at a ceremony commemorating the day, acting provincial governor for Badakhshan, Shah Waliullah Adeeb, blamed the intelligence agencies of neighboring countries for disrupting Afghanistan's security.

Meanwhile, Badakhshan residents presented security force members with flowers in support of their efforts to eliminate insurgents.

In addition, residents in the western zone also marked the day. Herat, Farah and Badghis residents all held gatherings to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of freedom.

Clerics in Herat meanwhile also observed the day but blamed Afghanistan's problems on its leaders.

Furthermore, residents in eastern Nangarhar also marked the day with huge celebrations including the laying of a wreath at the tomb of King Amanullah Khan – who secured independence on August 19, 1919 from Britain.

Speaking at a ceremony celebrating the day, local officials in Nangarhar called on the residents to support peace.