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Deadly Afghan protests erupt following NATO raid

At least 11 people were killed and more than 80 injured when violent protests erupted after a NATO raid in northern Afghanistan that left four people dead, Afghan authorities say.

By Hashim ShukoorMcClatchy Newspapers / May 18, 2011

Afghan protesters throng the streets following the killing of four people in a NATO raid during an anti- US demonstration in Taloqan, Takhar province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, May 18.

Fulad Hamdard/AP


Kabul, Afghanistan

At least 11 people were killed and more than 80 injured Wednesday during a demonstration launched in reaction to the alleged killing of four civilians – including two women – in a night raid conducted by NATO troops in the northeastern province of Takhar, local Afghan official said.

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"American forces entered a house in a village near Taloqan city, the capital of Takhar province, around 12:30 a.m. As a result, four people were killed. Two of the deaths are women," Abdul Jabar Taqwa, the provincial governor, told McClatchy in a telephone interview.

Governor Taqwa did not give details about the identities of those killed, saying they have launched an investigation. But the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said they have killed insurgents in the raid.

"A combined Afghan and coalition security force killed four insurgents, including two armed females during a security operation targeting an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan facilitator in Taloqan district, Takhar province yesterday," statement issued from the forces said.

According to the ISAF statement the two women killed were armed too.

"A woman wearing a chest rack and armed with an AK-47 rifle attempted to engage the force," the statement said. "The security force gave numerous verbal warnings, but when the armed female pointed her weapon at them, she was subsequently killed. "Afterwards, the force killed a male insurgent as he ignored verbal commands and picked up the AK-47 assault rifle and attempted to fire on the force. "Shortly after, a woman armed with a pistol rushed out of the targeted compound and displayed hostile intent by pointing her pistol at the security force. The security force engaged the female resulting in her death."

But the demonstrators claimed those killed in the raid were civilians.

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According to the governor some of the demonstrators were armed and attacked the PRT offices with grenade but faced resistance from the guards.

"There were over 2000 people who demonstrated in front of the governor office and the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT)," Taqwa said. "It was a peaceful demonstration but the presence of Taliban insurgents and other intruders turned the demonstration into violence."

The governor said that police have not fired on the demonstrators. But Faiz Mohammad Tawhidi, the spokesman for the governor, said that the demonstrators were killed in a fire exchange with the security forces.

"The demonstrators attacked the PRT compound, with stone, wood and some with gun, and the guards protecting the compound resisted," Mr. Tawhidi said.
Taqwa criticized the way the raid was conducted and he called the operation by US forces "uncoordinated" with Afghan forces.


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