Thousands of Afghans protest US civilian killings

Chanting slogans against Karzai and the United States, thousands of people took part in the protest despite heavy rain.

Thousands of Afghans protest US civilian killings
Thousands of Afghans protested against President Hamid Karzai and the United States on Sunday over reports of fresh civilian killings caused by U.S.-led troops.

The operation causing the latest killings happened this week in eastern Laghman province. The U.S. military said on Saturday that troops, backed by air support, had killed 15 "insurgents" in an overnight operation.

Assadullah Wafa, a Karzai adviser, tasked to investigate the deaths, said on Sunday 16 civilians, many of them children and women, were killed in the operation.

A spokesman for the U.S. military said on Saturday it had "no reports of civilian deaths".

The military could not be reached immediately for comment on Sunday.

The protest was held in Mehtar Lam, Laghman's provincial capital.

Chanting slogans against Karzai and the United States, thousands of people took part in the protest despite heavy rain.

"If the foreign troops do not put an end to their operations, we will launch jihad," said Malik Hazrat, a protest leader.

The provincial governor tried to calm the demonstrators and invited them for talks with representatives of the U.S.-led troops. But some protesters threw stones at him and he stopped his speech.

There was no report of injuries and by midday the protest had simmered down.

US-led troops killed nearly 700 civilians until October last year, according to a national human rights body based on a U.N. estimate.


Reuters
Last Mod: 25 Ocak 2009, 19:45
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