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Outrage Continues in Afghanistan; Two US Soldiers Killed

Common Dreams staff

Security guards stand as black smoke rises from tyres which were burnt by protesters during an anti-US demonstration in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. Anti-American demonstrations erupted on the outskirts of Kabul for a second day Wednesday and in another Afghan city over an incident that the U.S. said was inadvertent burning of Muslim holy books at a military base in Afghanistan. (Ahmad Jamshid/Associated Press)

"Two US troops have been shot to death and four more wounded by an Afghan soldier who turned his gun on his allies in apparent anger over the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan," an Afghan official tells CBS News.  Anger continues to spread across Afghanistan for the third straight day since news of the burnings surfaced.

An on-air report from CNN this morning said that the Afghan soldier turned his weapon on the US soldiers after they had opened fire on demonstrators, but confirmation of the details has not yet been made available.

According to CNN:

It is not clear if the troops were killed in revenge for the burning of Qurans, but the attack occurred at a base outside of which a demonstration was taking place, a local official said.

The protest and shootings came as the Taliban called on Muslims to attack NATO military bases and convoys and kill its soldiers following the admission that NATO troops had incinerated Islamic religious material at Bagram Airfield.

At least two demonstrators were killed when gunfire was exchanged near the base in Nangarhar province, said Haji Mohammad Hassan, chief of Khugyani district in the east of the province.

Two U.S. soldiers and seven demonstrators were injured in the clash, he said.

"We don't know who started the shooting first and what kind of guns were used, but we have started our investigation to find out the details of the incident," Hassan told CNN.

And the CBS report adds:

The protests Thursday at U.S. and NATO military bases around Afghanistan and in the capital city of Kabul saw renewed clashes between demonstrators and police, with security forces in Kabul reportedly opening fire and wounding several protesters. Five protesters were reportedly killed by police at protests in the north and south of the country.

For U.S. and NATO commanders in Afghanistan, the main concern is what may come after Friday prayers in 24 hours. Friday is the holy day in the Muslim week, and protests are typically much larger as thousands of Muslim men flood out of mosques and converge in cities and towns in protest.


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