Afghan protest on civilian deaths turns violent, 1 dead
Police shot dead a an Afghan protester in eastern Afghanistan yesterday after hundreds of villagers demonstrated against Nato raids which they said killed 11 civilians overnight, a local official said.
Crowds of men marched through the streets of Surkhrod district in Nangahar province, with chants like "Death to Americans, Long Live the Taliban" and pelted stones at government buildings before they were fired on by police.
Haji Jamal, head of the local provincial council, told Reuters that one of the protesters had been shot dead by police gunfire. The interior ministry was not immediately available for comment.
The protest erupted after a Nato-led raid overnight in a village in Surkhrod district angered residents who said the raid killed innocent civilians.
So-called "night raids" on Afghan houses by foreign troops in the hours of darkness are a frequent source of friction between the Afghan government and the Nato-led force.
The US and Nato commander, General Stanley McChrystal, has given instructions that night raids be carried out only as a last resort and with Afghan troops in the lead, to prevent incidents where Afghans defending their homes are mistaken for insurgents.
McChrystal has however refused to ban night raids outright, as requested by President Hamid Karzai. McChrystal's instructions say they can still be an effective and necessary tactic.
Nato-led forces said an overnight operation had taken place in Surkhrod district and that only insurgents had been killed, including a Taliban sub-commander, and no civilians had been harmed.