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Kabul protests ban on cash scheme

world Updated: Feb 11, 2008 00:47 IST

AFP
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Around 3,000 mostly young Afghan men marched through Kabul on Sunday to demand that government lifts a temporary ban on an international money-making scheme.

The protesters marched to the gates of the palace of President Hamid Karzai, where they read out a resolution demanding the government lift a temporary order on the Afghan version of the Internet-based QuestNet pyramid scheme.

The scheme, in which people encourage others to buy a product over the Internet to become a member, started in Afghanistan two years ago with 600 members and now has about 21,000, head of the Afghan Quest Union, Najmudin Fayaz, told reporters.

"We are here to ask for our rights," Fayaz said. "We have been active here for two years and have been given a licence for our business."

Kabul issued the scheme a licence two years ago but withdrew it last week, saying it needed to draw up an operating law, leaders of the demonstration said.

"If you cannot provide us jobs, don't take our jobs," read one of the banners held up by the demonstrators, many of whom wore Western dress.

"Fight corruption, drugs, and warlords -- not IT and information technology," said another, referring to the scheme's use of the Internet.

One of the participants, Karim Wasal, said it had rescued him from poverty and helped "make my dreams come true."

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world after three decades of war.