Afghans warned on celebratory gunfire ahead of soccer final

AP News
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Posted: Jan 03, 2016 9:42 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's Interior Ministry has warned against celebratory gunfire after the upcoming South Asia soccer final against India, hoping to avoid a repeat of the raucous celebrations that followed the national team's victory in 2013.

Afghanistan will defend its title against India on Sunday in an eagerly awaited match seen as a point of pride in the war-ravaged country. Afghanistan, which defeated Sri Lanka 5-0 to advance to the finals, is favored to defeat India, which beat Maldives 4-1.

The match will be played at Trivandrum International Stadium in Kerala, India, but Afghans can watch on a number of large screens set up around the capital and other cities.

The championship is held every two years. India beat Afghanistan in 2011.

The Ministry of Interior in a statement said "Do not disrupt the comfort of the Afghan citizens," and warned that the offenders would face legal actions.

In the capital Kabul, hundreds of Afghans filled the streets, waving the national flag. Others gathered on a hillside in the Wazir Akbar Khan district to watch the game live on a big screen.

Prominent Afghans, including government officials, lawmakers and businessmen, have travelled to India to support their team.