Afghans Burn NATO Trucks in Response to Killing of 3 Civilians

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The Washington Post

Afghans Burn NATO Trucks in Response to Killing of 3 Civilians

by
Joshua Partlow

Afghan security forces stand guard near trucks burned by countrymen after reports of the civilian deaths. (Mohammed Obaid Ormur/associated Press)

KABUL -- Afghan protesters torched NATO supply vehicles in eastern Afghanistan
on Sunday, hours after allegations emerged that U.S. and Afghan troops
had killed three civilians, including two brothers, in their home.

The demonstration occurred in Logar province after a nighttime joint
patrol of U.S. Special Operations forces and Afghan soldiers fatally
shot three people and arrested two others. NATO officials said the men
were insurgents who had displayed "hostile intent." One of those
captured was a low-level Taliban commander who planned suicide
bombings, they said.

But after daybreak, more than 100 people gathered on a main road in
Logar to protest the killings and the death in a separate incident of
an Islamic scholar, according to Afghan officials. Military operations
at night are deeply unpopular, and Afghan officials have called for
them to stop. The furious crowd blocked traffic and set fire to at
least 10 fuel tankers using hand grenades, said the provincial police
chief, Ghulam Mustafa Moisini.

"If they were insurgents, why are the people so angry?" asked provincial government spokesman Din Mohammad Darwish.

A relative of the slain men, Abdul Ghani, said that dozens of Afghan
and U.S. soldiers appeared at his family's home about 2 a.m. When they
entered, a chaotic scene ensued, and two of his brothers, Haji Abdul
Aziz and Abdul Waqil, were shot and killed. Two other brothers, Abdul
Wahid and Abdul Hai, were arrested, he said.

Ghani said that his brothers work as shopkeepers and have no links to the insurgency.

"Not only the families of the victims hate the U.S. forces," he said. "Everyone is turning against them."

The police chief, however, corroborated the NATO claims that the men
killed and captured were insurgents. The joint patrol collected
weapons, including AK-47s and pistols, along with Pakistani passports,
he said. The people knew this, but protested anyway, Moisini said, a
sign of either grass-roots support for the Taliban or intimidation by
the insurgents.

"Whether they are insurgents or civilians, the people go and protest," he said.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan on Sunday, a man walked into a crowded
market and exploded himself, killing at least two people and wounding
more than 10 others in Zabul province.

The bombing did not appear to target any foreign or military target,
said Nazir Ali Wahidi, the Afghan intelligence chief in the province.

"The terrorists just want to sow fear and panic among the people," he said. "That's their main goal."

Special correspondent Javed Hamdard contributed to this report.

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