News / Asia

25 Afghans Killed in Protests, Suicide Attack

An Afghan girl whose family members were killed overnight after a raid by NATO and Afghan forces, covers her face as she weeps during a protest in Taloqan, May 18, 2011
An Afghan girl whose family members were killed overnight after a raid by NATO and Afghan forces, covers her face as she weeps during a protest in Taloqan, May 18, 2011

At least 12 people were killed and more than 80 others injured in violent protests in northern Afghanistan over the killing of four people in a NATO raid overnight, while another 13 died in a suicide attack on a police bus in the east Wednesday.

Authorities in northern Takhar province said more than 2,000 demonstrators clashed with police in Taloqan, the provincial capital.  The protesters shouted slogans against the U.S. and Afghan governments and carried the bodies of those killed in the raid through the streets.  

Afghan officials say four civilians were killed during the overnight NATO operation, but the coalition says those killed were armed insurgents who tried to fire on them.  NATO said it was targeting a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who had been moving weapons and explosives in the province.

In Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a police bus Wednesday, killing at least 13 people and wounding 20 others.  Local officials said the dead included both police and civilians.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the coalition night raid that he said killed four members of a family, as well as the suicide attack.  He said the NATO operation was not coordinated with Afghan forces, although NATO said the operation was carried out by a joint force.

The Afghan leader demanded an explanation from the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, saying "these types of operations" have not stopped despite warnings from the Afghan government.

During Wednesday's protests, police and security forces fired shots to disperse the crowds, who threw stones at a nearby German military base.  At least least two German soldiers and three Afghan guards were wounded.

Separately on Wednesday, NATO says an insurgent attack killed one of its service members in southern Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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