8 dead as anti-US protests continue
KABUL (PAN): At least eight people were killed and 27 others wounded as protests over alleged burning of the Quran by US troops at the Bagram Airbase continued across Afghanistan for a second day on Wednesday, officials and witnesses said.
Six men were killed and a dozen others wounded when an anti-US demonstration turned violent in the central province of Parwan. In the Shinwari district, furious protestors stormed the district headquarters building and clashed with police, the district chief said.
Saifullah Baidar told Pajhwok Afghan News police opened fire on the protestors to stop them from entering the office complex. Six passers-by were wounded when the demonstrators, who were initially peaceful but turned violent after police fire, hurled stones at them, a witness said.
One person was killed and three others wounded during a protest in the Baraki Barak district of central Logar province, where some militants opened fire on district headquarters. Syed Wakil, the district’s administrative chief, said police returned fire in an effort to disperse the angry mob.
“We were staging a peaceful demonstration, but police fired on us,” protestor Abdul Abdul Raqib said, adding one man was killed and two others sustained injuries.
In eastern Nangarhar province, where thousands of people converged on Jalalabad, one protestor was killed in a clash with security guards of the airport. At least 11 people, including a policeman, were injured in the fire exchange.
Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the governor’s spokesman, told a news conference the clash erupted after the protestors torched six tankers carrying fuel for NATO-led troops.
Public Health Director Baz Mohammad Sherzad confirmed to Pajhwok receiving at the Jalalabad Civil Hospital a dead body and 11 wounded individuals from the site. He would say nothing about the condition of the wounded.
Early in the morning, residents -- chanting death to America and foreign troops -- staged demonstrations in the Pashtunistan area, Mastofiat Square, at Education Faculty, Nangarhar University, Talashi Square and Hesarak district.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people took to the streets in the Qara Bagh district of Kabul. Security personnel had taken the necessary measures to prevent them turning violent, said the district police chief, Col. Abdul Matin.
Elsewhere in Kabul, angry citizens blocked the Darul Aman-Deh Mazang road near the parliament building. The protestors gathered in the Charahi Qambar locality on the western outskirts of Kabul and blocked the road leading to the Wolesi Jirga. One protestor was injured in the city during protests.
Raising slogans against foreign troops, the protestors sought serious punishment for the soldiers who burnt four copies of the Quran on Monday night. “Several times the foreign troops have desecrated the sacred book and then got away with mere apologies,” Mualvi Nasrullah told Pajhwok Afghan News.
The criminals should be sentenced to death, demanded the religious scholar, who said: “Our leaders fought against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Why don’t they declare Jihad against the international troops in the country?”
The enraged demonstrators, who also denounced the government of President Hamid Karzai, threw stones at journalists to prevent them from entering the area. A man, who tried to enter the parliament building, was shot injured by police and taken to hospital.
With US embassy in Kabul on lockdown, police said the mob was trying to set cars alight and attack shops. About 100 university students also protested the incident, saying the soldiers responsible for burning the Quran must be brought to justice.
Addressing a meeting at the Governor’s House, Weesa said they wanted the troops involved in the incident to be punished harshly. He urged residents to exercise restraint and avoid taking extreme measures that could be exploited by Afghanistan’s enemies.
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