Seven killed and 20 injured in more protests in Afghanistan
KABUL: Seven people were killed and 20 were injured in further protests in Afghanistan over a report that US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the Quran, said police and residents on Friday.
Earlier, Islamic clerics speaking told worshippers during Friday prayers the protests were justified, but urged them to shun violence. Their words fell on deaf ears as clashes erupted in different parts of the country shortly after prayers ended. Four policemen and national army soldiers were killed in a gun battle with protesters in Ghazni province, said residents.
Provincial police chief Shah Jahan Noori said that three protesters were also killed in Badakhshan during a protest. “Apart from the three killed, 21 people, including two policemen, were injured,” said Noori, adding that protesters had damaged several aid agency offices.
Newsweek magazine reported in its May 9 edition that investigators probing abuses at the US military prison found that interrogators “had placed Qurans on toilets and in at least one case flushed a holy book down the toilet.” Muslims consider the Quran the literal word of God and treat each book with deep reverence. The US has promised to investigate the report.
The deaths on Friday took the total number killed in protests this week to 14. Nearly 100 have been hurt. Police stations, government premises and UN aid group offices have been attacked and torched. Early in the week it was college and high school students who took to the streets shouting “Death to America” and demanding punishment for those they believe desecrated the Quran. But older men have joined them, many wielding sticks and hurling stones.
The United States commands a foreign force in Afghanistan of 18,300, most of them American, fighting Taliban insurgents and hunting Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders. But US and other foreign troops have not been involved in policing the protests, leaving that to Afghan authorities. reuters