11 people are dead and 85 injured in the violent protests in Takhar province on Wednesday. Hundreds of people came out on roads protesting against the night raid by NATO troops who claimed killing 4 insurgents. Protesters were holding dead bodies of those killed, marching towards the center of the city. There are conflicting accounts of those killed. Local people deny they were insurgents, and ISAF say they were armed and tried to attack the troops during the night raid. Among them were two women. There should be a thorough investigation about those killed, whether they were insurgents, or civilians.
The protest turned violent when people started looting shops and breaking down private property in the city. A group of mob was throwing stones at the German military camp there. Firing was heard, and reportedly some people had thrown hand grenades on German troops, injuring two. This led the ISAF troops to fire, in which 12 people have been killed.
It's the failure of Afghan security forces that were unable to control the situation and stop the mob going to the German military outpost. Who were the armed people firing? And where did the "protesters" get hand grenades from? It's wrong to say all of them were part of the protesting civilians. Afghan security forces, National Police and Army, were deployed later; once the situation got out of control. Police should have already stopped the protesters looting shops and smashing down private property, long before reaching to the military camp.
If the victims of the night raid are innocent civilians, it is condemnable in strongest terms. But this has to be confirmed in an investigation. NATO says those killed were armed and insurgents. However, this doesn't give justification for the protesters to start looting public property, and using violence. The failure of Afghan security forces to control the situation speaks out the most in this tragic incident of Takhar.
In another incident of violence on Wednesday, 13 people were killed in a suicide attack in Jalalabad on a bus of police cadets. It is part of the recent wave of Taliban attacks, which they have named Badar Operation, against Afghan security forces and foreign troops. The fight against insurgents is going to get tougher in summer, as Taliban have declared this year to use their all fighters and full capability. The war for Afghan security forces will not end soon, even if any political deal works with insurgents. Some elements of insurgents will never give up violence, and we must fight them as long as they are defeated.