Hundreds of angry faces, fluttering signs, fist-pumping cries of “Allahu akbar!” punctuated with shouts of “Death to America!” — last week’s demonstrations in Kabul showed just how fragile the country’s new optimism can be.

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Image: EPA

It is also a sign of the hurdles that Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, must overcome as he attempts to move his country forward. Those obstacles are not limited to the knee-jerk fanaticism of a few hundred protesters; the architects of this particular crisis can be found inside Ghani’s own “National Unity Government.”

The overt reason for the outpouring of negative emotion in Afghanistan last week was a small article in an obscure English language newspaper, published nearly two weeks ago and that almost no one in Afghanistan actually read.

The Afghanistan Express, which bills itself as “the voice of a more hopeful generation,” is a small publication that targets foreign embassies, NGOs, “entrepreneurs and tourists” — none of whom much resemble the protesters gathered at the Eid Gah Mosque or Kabul University on Friday.

The article in question, “The Islam of the Taliban and ISIS,” is a cri de coeur against a God unwilling or unable to curb evil in the world.

“What type of God you are? Are you insane? … You ‘God’ are not understandable, I leave you right there alone in the sky.”

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