Kabul: At least two people were killed in ethnic clashes that broke out in Kabul on Saturday when Hazara villagers allegedly burnt down the hilltop homes of Pashtun nomads, an official and witnesses said.
The violence started when Hazara men allegedly burnt mud houses built on a hilltop above Hazara villages on the southwestern edge of the Afghan capital, according to officials.
Police fired bullets into the air and used batons to try and disperse the crowd, but hundreds of youths marched through Hazara-dominated villages towards the city, witnesses and an official said.
At around sunset the crowd clashed with police, throwing rocks at hundreds of members of the security forces blocking the way to the city centre, a senior government official told a news agency on condition of anonymity.
Two Hazara youths were killed by police fire in the clashes, the official said. A senior Kabul police officer refused to comment.
An AFP photographer saw two bodies: one with bullet wounds at a mosque and the second in a nearby hospital. The rioters smashed windows of shops and homes on their march towards the city, the photographer witnessed.
Crying women and children were among hundreds of Pashtun nomads who abandoned their mud-brick homes, which an AFP reporter saw burning, surrounded by police and army personnel.
At least three wounded people were taken towards the city in police vehicles, an AFP reporter witnessed.