Violent protests denouncing the appointment of the new provincial police chief have been reported in Mazar-e-Sharif (Balkh province) on Thursday afternoon (local time), March 14. Local sources indicate heavy and small arms fire were heard near the provincial police headquarters after the former Governor of Balkh province Atta Noor called on supporters to resist the appointment. Unconfirmed reports indicate protesters clashed with security forces, resulting in at least 13 injuries, including five civilians. A heightened security presence is to be expected in Mazar-e-Sharif over the coming hours and days. Further clashes cannot be ruled out.
Individuals in Mazar-e-Sharif are advised to avoid the area, monitor developments to the situation, strictly avoid related gatherings and demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
The security environment in Afghanistan remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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