Anti-American Riots continue in Afghanistan
10 of Aghanistan’s 34 provinces have been the scene of street demonstrations hostile to the USA, following the spread of protests to 5 more provinces today. After yesterday’s toll of four dead and 71 wounded in Jalalabad, three people were killed-- two in the Khiogyani district near Jalalabad and one in Wardak Province southwest of Kabul.
Today in Wardak Province, a protest was called in the Shaq district where the offices of the police and the provincial government were set on fire. Protesters also set fire to a munitions dump and one person was killed in the resulting explosion. In the Jalalabad’s Khogyani district, demonstrators are said to have opened fire on police and two protesters were killed. In Kabul, 300 university students marched shouting slogans against the USA while in Ghazni Province Aktar Mohammad Tolwak, a candidate running for Parliamentin September’s legislative race, was killed.
From AFP: Disturbances continued in several Afghani cities against the United States. Three people were killed and 76 wounded in clashes with Afghani police today. The protests, set off by the news that Americans desecrated the Koran during prisoner interrogations in Guantanamo by flushing sheets of the sacred book down the toilet, began three days ago in Jalalabad but spread to Kabul and other cities in the country. Yesterday four people died in disturbances.
From Le Monde: Allegations that the Koran was profaned in the US prison camp on Guantanamo inflamed passions in Afghanistan, setting off protests in several cities on 11 May. The largest demonstration turned into a riot in Jalalabad, where security forces opened fire on the crowd, killing at least four protesters. Kabul, the capital, was rocked by anti-American protests on Thursday.
A story in the US weekly Newsweek picked up by the Afghanistan media, lit up a powderkeg. The magazine revealed that according to an investigation of abuse of Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo, Americans placed Korans on the toilet. In at least one instance, the sacred text was thrown into the toilet bowl and flushed down.
Thousands of angry protesters, mostly students, marched on Wednesday in four provinces in the east and southeast of the country (the provinces of Nangarhar, Khost, Laghman, Wardak) which are close to Kabul and the Pakistani frontier. The protests end calmly in three provinces, but violence broke out in Nangarhar, where enemies of peace and stability joined the demonstration., said a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry.
The most violent anti-American protests since the fall of the Taleban on 13 November 2001 took place in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar Province. Tens of thousands of Afghanis poured into the streets on Tuesday and Wednesday shouting Death to the United States! Death to George Bush, Long Live Islam, Long Live the Koran! Effigies of President Bush were burned. According to witnesses, the protestors attacked buildings symbolizing the US presence. The United Nations headquarters, the headquarters of several NGOs and the Pakistani Consulate were partially burned to the ground. Police and Afghan Army forces, supported by US troops, fired on the rioters, killing four young men and wounding 70 demonstrators, including six police.
Inside Pakistan, the reported descrecration of the Koran produced charged emotions. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry summoned the Afghan Ambassador in Islamabad to inform him of serious concern on the part of the Pakistani authorities after the attack on their consulate. Wednesday afternoon, the UN announced a temporary reduction of its staff in Jalalabad and NGOs are taking steps to ensure the security of their personnel.
The anger of the Afghanis was not appeased on Thursday as several hundred people marched in the street of Kabul shouting Death to America.