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Thousands of Afghans stage anti-US protest in Kabul

[ 2010-09-16 13:38]     字号 [] [] []  
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Police fired into the air to disperse thousands of anti-American protesters in Afghanistan's capital on Wednesday, witnesses and police said, with one person killed and at least five wounded.

Demonstrators chanted "Death to America", "Death to Christians", and "Death to Karzai", the latter referring to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in the biggest protests since unrest erupted last week over plans by a US pastor to burn the Quran.

"There are more than 10,000 of the demonstrators and some of them are waving the Taliban flag," police officer Mohammad Usman said.

The protests come three days before a parliamentary election which the Taliban have vowed to disrupt. The election is a key test of stability in Afghanistan before US President Barack Obama conducts a war strategy review in December.

They follow three days of protests at the weekend over plans by an obscure US pastor, which he later abandoned, to burn copies of the Quran to mark the anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001, hijacked airliner attacks on the United States.

Three people were killed in those protests. Observers including the top UN diplomat in Afghanistan had warned the Taliban may try to exploit the Quran-burning protests.

A police source later said one person had been killed and five wounded, and that the toll could rise.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the hardline Islamist group was aware of the protests but had no role in them.

"People may have raised the Taliban flags to show their sentiment and sympathy for the Taliban," Mujahid said from an undisclosed location.

At the Pul-e-Kandahari, or Kandahar bridge in Kabul, police were ordered to advance toward one group of hundreds of protesters who were throwing stones and shouting "Death to American slaves" at police.

Police were seen firing into the air and dragging away several protesters. At one point, volleys of gunfire could be heard. The protesters scattered, some sheltering in nearby houses in the mainly ethnic Pashtun and Tajik area of Kabul.

The protesters earlier gathered in the west of the capital, burning tires and blocking a main highway link to the south. Thick black smoke rose above the area and police kept journalists several hundred meters back.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Thousands of Afghans stage anti-US protest in Kabul

About the broadcaster:

Thousands of Afghans stage anti-US protest in Kabul

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.