Protests spread in Afghanistan

Friday, May 13, 2005 File:Loya7.jpg

Mosque in Afghanistan
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Seven people were killed and over 76 injured in the first three days of anti-U.S. protests in Afghanistan. The protests are a response to a published report that states U.S. guards in Guantanamo Bay defiled the Koran.

Four policemen and soldiers were killed in the attack in the province of Ghazni, southwest of the nation's capital, Kabul. Police chief in Badakhshan, Shah Jahan Noori, reported three dead civilians, and the BBC reported nine more deaths in the fourth day of protests.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday that "respect for religious freedom for all individuals is one of the founding principles of the United States" and that if allegations are proven, the U.S. government will take "appropriate actions".

Demonstrations have been reported in at least 12 Afghan cities, but have also spread to neighbouring Pakistan.

Newsweek reported on May 9 that US guards in Guantanamo Bay placed Korans above toilets, to scare the prisoners, and even flushed one down a commode in a demonstration.

Imams in Kabul expressed their support for demonstrators, but vowed for non-violence.