Afghan citizens took to the streets again on Friday, making it the fourth day of protests following evidence that US officials had burned Korans at the Bagram airfield base outside of Kabul. Deaths were again reported in clashes between outraged Afghans and security forces.
The Irish Times reports:
Twelve people were killed today in the bloodiest day yet in protests that have raged across Afghanistan over the desecration of copies of the Muslim holy book at a Nato military base.
The burning of the Korans at the Bagram compound earlier this week has deepened public mistrust of Nato forces struggling to stabilise Afghanistan before foreign combat troops withdraw in 2014.
Hundreds of Afghans marched towards the palace of Afghan president Hamid Karzai in Kabul, while on the other side of the capital protesters hoisted the white flag of the Taliban.
Chanting anti-American slogans, protesters also threw rocks at police in Kabul, while Afghan army helicopters circled above.
Friday is a holy day and the official weekly holiday in Afghanistan and mosques in the capital drew large crowds, with police in pick-up trucks posted on nearby streets.
Armed protesters took refuge in shops in the eastern part of the city, where they killed one demonstrator, said police at the scene. In another Kabul rally, police said they were unsure who fired the shots that killed a second protester.
Seven more protesters were killed in the western province of Herat, two more in eastern Khost province and one in the relatively peaceful northern Baghlan province, health and local officials said.
In Herat, about 500 men charged at the US consulate.