TALOQAN - Nearly a dozen people were killed and 85 others wounded when a protest demonstration over the deaths of four people in a NATO raid turned violent in northern Takhar province on Wednesday, officials said.
Police opened fire at hundreds of people protesting against the killing of four people, including two women, in Gawmali area, three kilometers from Taloqan, the provincial capital. NATO-led ISAF in a statement earlier said that a combined Afghan and coalition security force killed four insurgents, including two armed females, in Taloqan.
The operation was carried out in pursuit of an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan facilitator, who acquires, constructs, and moves weapons and explosives throughout the province, the alliance said in a statement.
But protestors said those killed in the operation were civilians. About 200 people took part in the demonstration. Some angry protestors attacked the governor's office, and the Germany Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). A doctor at the Taloqan civil hospital, Mohammad Hassan Bassejj, said they had been delivered 10 dead bodies and more than 50 injured at the hospital. Some of the wounded were in a critical condition, he said.
However, he said the hospital lacked sufficient beds to accommodate the injured. He said some injured people were transferred to private clinics.
The protest turned violent after demonstrators clashed with police and tried to attack governmental office.
Security forces were trying to control the situation. Ahmadullah, a protester, said that they were heading toward a NATO base to register their complaint against the deaths of four people when they were shot at. He said some protestors then threw hand grenade toward the base. Most of protestors were laced with sticks and axes. The main road leading to Taloqan city remained blocked for several hours. The Afghan National Army was called in to bring the situation under control, officials said. A security official said some militants had penetrated protestors.
Governor Abdul Jabbar Taqwa said that foreign troops had been asked to provide evidence that the dead people had links with insurgents. It was not immediately clear whether the casualties were victims of police bullets or from another source. Two German soldiers were also injured in the disturbances, the country's contingent in Afghanistan said, but did not give details. (Pajhwok)