Thousands of Muslims demonstrated in the northeast for a second day on Saturday, as a US pastor announces conflicting remarks on a plan to burn the Quran
The renewed protests in the country came after obscure Florida Pastor Terry Jones called off plans to burn copies of the Koran, but also commented he will set of another day for it.
Leaders of countries including Afghanistan and Indonesia issued dire warnings against the provocative act. US President Barack Obama also warned the action could deeply hurt the United States abroad and endanger the lives of U.S. troops.
Several thousand people gathered in three districts in northeastern Badakhshan province, where a day earlier a protester was shot dead outside a German-run NATO base, provincial police chief Aqa Noor Kentuz said.
"Demonstrators have come in their thousands to protest the Koran burning, though so far it is peaceful. Our police force is there to prevent any violence," he told Reuters.
Yesterday, a crowd, estimated at 10,000 by a government official, poured out of mosques into the streets of Faizabad, the capital of Badakhshan in Afghanistan's northeast, after special prayers for Eid al-Fitr, the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Demonstrations later spread to the capital, Kabul, and at least four other provinces.
Several hundred gathered in a northern district of Kabul, while about 2,000 marched on a government building in western Farah, officials and witnesses said. There were also protests in nearby Badghis in the northwest and Ghor and Herat in the west.
At mosques in the capital, clerics also labeled the plan dangerous. "Muslims are ready to sacrifice their sons, fathers and mothers for Islam and the Quran," one preacher said at one Kabul mosque to cries of "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest).
In neighouring Pakistan, hundreds of protesters rallied in the central city of Multan to torch US flags.
The governments of Pakistan and India, which after Indonesia have the world's biggest Muslim populations, have added their voices to a chorus of global outrage against Jones.
Terry Jones, a Christian pastor of a small church in Gainesville, Florida, has called off his planned Quran-burning event slated for the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, after drawing international condemnation and a warning from Barack Obama, the US president, that it could provoke al-Qaeda suicide bombings and incite violence around the world.
"Right now we have no plans to go ahead with the event," Jones confirmed to the US television programme Good Morning America on Friday.
Jones, the head of the Dove World Outreach Center, first announced the event's suspension on Thursday, but then indicated he might reconsider, accusing a Muslim leader of lying to him about moving a planned Islamic centre in New York.