Saturday, July 5, 2008

Afghan protesters decry NATO operations

Afghan police fire on hundreds of protestors outraged at NATO actions:

Over a dozen wounded as police fire on protestors

GARDEZ, June 14 (PAN): More than a dozen protestors suffered injuries as police fired to disrupt a peaceful demonstration against NATO operations in the southeastern province of Paktia, residents and officials said on Saturday.

Hundreds of residents of the Zurmat district took to the streets Saturday morning to denounce what they called irresponsible NATO sweeps in the restive province. The demo largely remained peaceful in demanding an end to collateral damage in inaccurate military operations.

Lashing out at a NATO bombardment of a civilian house in the Shamalzai area of the district two days back, the demonstrators chanted full-throated slogans denouncing Afghan and foreign forces.

Haji Zahir, one of the demonstrators, told Pajhwok Afghan News police opened fire on the rally, wounding 13 people. As a result of fire from the law-enforcers, he said, the protestors were dispersed.

Dr Haji Muhammad, running a private clinic in the area, corroborated the claim that 13 were wounded. He said the injured were brought to his clinic. Six of them were in a critical condition, the doctor explained.

An official at the provincial police headquarters, Ghulam Dastgir Rustamyar, confirmed police opened fire on protestors. However, he put the number of the wounded at only three.

He insisted police were tipped off that foreign terrorists and Taliban were among the demonstrators...

NATO officials claimed eliminating five Taliban insurgents and a woman in an operation but locals accused the foreign troops of killing 15 civilians including six children. (link)
A local elder is cited:
[Haji Juma Gul, a local elder] claimed 3000 people took part in the demonstration, whose participants warned to press on with their protest until NATO forces halted their irresponsible operations in the district.

People would stand up against foreign forces as long as they did not halt their reckless sweeps, stressed Ghulam Muhammad... (link)
A similar incident in Nangarhar:
Irate Khogyani residents protest civilians' death

JALALABAD, June 23 (PAN): Hundreds of residents in Khugiani district of eastern Nangarhar province on Monday flooded into streets to protest the death of two civilians killed in NATO-led ISAF forces firing on suspected Militants.

NATO led International Security Assistance Force clashed with the Taliban fighters on Sunday night after the latter assaulted the NATO patrol convoy in the district.

In retaliatory fires the NATO hit a residential house killing a father and his four year old son.

The killing of the two civilians sparked the anger of the locals who chanted anti foreign forces slogans and urged for trail of the murderers... (link)

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