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Afghan Protesters Clash with NATO Troops

  • Benjamin Sand

Thousands of rioters in northwestern Afghanistan clashed with NATO troops Tuesday during protests over cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist. Regional U.N. offices were evacuated as a precaution, while NATO peacekeepers were being flown in to help impose order.

Violent protests erupted in towns and cities across Afghanistan Tuesday, spurred by anger over the cartoons, which depicted the Prophet Mohammed in an unfavorable way.

Some of the worst violence occurred in Maymana, in northwestern Afghanistan, where clashes between demonstrators and NATO peacekeepers led United Nations staff to leave the city.

Protests also took place across Asia Tuesday, but those in Afghanistan were by far the most violent.

Speaking from Kabul, U.N. spokesman Adrian Edwards confirmed the reported evacuation from Maymana.

"At the moment, we've reduced our staffing levels and they're being moved to a safer place," he said.

Police shot and killed at least one protester in Maymana during the day and wounded more than a dozen others, as the crowd tried to storm a local NATO peacekeeping base housing a few dozen Norwegian and Finnish troops.

Later in the day, NATO ordered British reinforcements to the base.

In Kabul, police prevented hundreds of demonstrators from attacking Denmark's diplomatic mission over the controversial cartoons. Witnesses say the mob cracked the windows of several U.N. vehicles before police managed to disperse the crowd.

The offending cartoons, which have sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world, were originally published in a Danish newspaper.

In Pakistan, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Peshawar, where they burned effigies of the Danish prime minister.

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