US embassy vehicles torched in Afghan capital

Last Updated: Friday, July 30, 2010 - 21:13

Kabul: Rioting erupted in Kabul on Friday
when scores of Afghan men set fire to two US embassy vehicles
after one collided with a civilian car killing a number of
occupants, officials and witnesses said.

Television pictures showed the vehicles in flames and
young Afghan men throwing stones at them.

NATO`s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
said it had despatched a quick reaction force to the area,
outside the American embassy and near US and Afghan army bases
in the centre of the city.

An ISAF official said the vehicles involved belonged
to the US embassy.

"We don`t know yet how many people were killed in the
accident," interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashery said.

Witnesses said four passengers of the civilian car
died when it was hit by one of two armoured vehicles moving in
convoy.

Police fired shots in the air to quell the violence,
a news reporter witnessed.

Afghan security forces cordoned off the area, closing
the road to Kabul`s international airport, he said.

Local resident Saleh Ahmed said the accident happened
when the civilian vehicle attempted to drive onto the main
road from a side street and was hit by one of the two armoured
vehicles.

"The civilian vehicle was trying to get into the main
road when the two foreign vehicles hit it and killed all four
occupants," he said. "People gathered around the crash site to
see what had happened, got angry and started attacking the
foreigners."

The AFP reporter on the scene said police helped the
foreigners leave as the riot continued for about an hour
before people started to disperse.

Young Afghan men threw stones and shouted "death to
foreigners" and "death to Karzai," referring to President
Hamid Karzai, he said.

A similar traffic incident led to massive riots that
shook the capital in May 2006, leaving at least 14 people
dead.

Deployments by the United States and NATO are nearing
their peak of 150,000, concentrated in the southern provinces
of Helmand and Kandahar, where a nearly nine-year Taliban
insurgency is at its most intense.

A motorcycle bomb targeting a candidate in upcoming
parliamentary elections killed a woman and a child in the
southern city of Kandahar today, police said.

The explosives-laden motorcycle was parked in a city
centre alley used by the candidate, and detonated minutes
after he passed by, provincial deputy police chief Fazel Ahmad
Shairzad said to a news agency.

PTI



First Published: Friday, July 30, 2010 - 21:13

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