US troops fire shots to disperse Afghan protesters
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 15:45
Kabul: US troops fired warning shots to disperse a protest in eastern Afghanistan over the arrest of a religious leader suspected of a rocket attack, NATO said Tuesday.

The alliance said no civilian injuries were reported from the protest yesterday, but Gen Faqir Ahmad, the deputy police chief of Parwan province, said one civilian was killed by shots fired from an unknown source.

NATO said about 300 people surrounded a patrol and attacked vehicles with rocks and iron bars outside the massive coalition air base at Bagram, in Parwan province.

"After several attempts to stop the attack and disperse the crowd, coalition troops received small-arms fire directed at them," NATO said in a news release. Coalition forces then fired the warning shots.

Gen Ahmad said the only gunfire came from the coalition. He said the shots enraged the crowd, with some then using rocks and sticks to attack police and the head of the district government, Kabir Ahmad, who had tried to calm the situation.

The deputy police chief said both men had serious but not life-threatening injuries.

The man arrested by Afghan police yesterday was a religious teacher suspected of taking part in a rocket attack on a coalition patrol two weeks ago, Gen Ahmad said. About 50 students from his religious school began the protest, which then attracted up to 2,000 villagers, he said.

Such protests among Afghan civilians often centre on claims that US or other international forces killed innocent civilians. NATO says some accusations are unfounded and accuses the Taliban and its sympathisers of inciting demonstrators.


First Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 15:45

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