Anti-US protest turns violent

Seven more die in demonstrations against Quran burning incident

Afghan officials said on Friday at least seven people were killed in protests around the country against the burning of Qurans at a US air base, bringing the overall death toll after four days of demonstrations to 20.

The fresh protests were evidence that President Barack Obama’s apology has not calmed Afghans enraged by the incident at Bagram Air Field earlier this week.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, parliamentarians and some clerics have also called for an end to the protests until an investigation into the incident is concluded in coming days. The governor’s office in western Herat province said six died in three incidents there.

Muhiuddin Noori, a spokesman for the governor, said three people were killed when a truck full of ammunition exploded after protesters set it ablaze. Three others died in two separate incidents when armed men among the protesters exchanged gunfire with security forces. He said at least 65 people were injured in the three protests.

In northern Baghlan province, Governor Abdul Majid said another protester died when Afghan security forces fired in the air to prevent demonstrators from storming a Hungarian base.

“There was a peaceful protest, but when it ended about 200 irresponsible young people ran toward the base and tried to enter the gate. There was shooting from the Afghan police and the army from several places and one man died and three were wounded,” he said.

The violence came as the top US commander in Afghanistan has told his troops that “now is not the time for revenge” for the deaths of two US soldiers killed in Thursday’s riots.
He told them to resist whatever urge they might have to strike back after an Afghan soldier killed the two American troops. “There will be moments like this when you’re searching for the meaning of this loss. There will be moment like this, when your emotions are governed by anger and a desire to strike back,” Allen said.

Afghan National Army Gen Sher Mohammed Karimi, who traveled to the base with Allen, told the US troops that their sacrifice is not wasted.

Karimi said the Americans and Afghans together are “fighting an enemy of humanity.”
The unrest started on Tuesday, when Afghan workers at the sprawling Bagram air base noticed that Qurans and other Islamic texts were in the trash that coalition troops dumped into a pit where garbage is burned.

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