Saturday 31 July 2010

Afghanistan: Thousands rally against occupation

Protest in Mazar-i-Sharif, July 10. 

Citizens rallied in two Afghan cities on July 10 and 11, chanting slogans against the occupying powers and the unpopular regime of President Hamid Karzai for failing to protect civilians.

On July 10, hundreds took to the streets of Mazar-i-Sharif to demand that all occupation forces leave.

The protest was organised after an artillery barrage from occupying NATO forces killed six civilians in Paktia province on July 8 and US troops killed two civilians in a pre-dawn raid in the city on July 7.

Protesters chanted slogans against occupation forces and Karzai.

NATO accepted responsibility for the slaughter in Paktia. It blamed the deaths on “stray” artillery, a day after acknowledging that a pre-dawn NATO helicopter air strike killed five Afghan soldiers and wounded two on July 9.

The country’s interior ministry had initially blamed the deaths in Paktia on a rocket fired by militants hitting a local bazaar.

On July 11, about 1000 people gathered in Puli Alam city, Logar province, to express their outrage over the slaughter of 12 civilians in the south-eastern province of Paktia.

Provincial officials said unknown gunmen attacked a passenger bus in Samkani district, Paktia, on July 10 and killed 11 Pakistani civilians.

But Logar residents insisted the victims were Afghan civilians from Logar’s Khoshi district who were returning home from Pakistan when the attack took place.

Interior ministry spokesperson Zamarai Bashary acknowledged 12 Afghan civilians were killed in the attack and two others were injured. He said a government investigation was ongoing.

Puli Alam resident Mohammad Karim said: “The people are angry at the officials in Paktia because they sent the dead bodies to Pakistan without proper investigation.”

Mr Karim added that people from Khoshi district “are on the way to Pakistan to bring the bodies back”.

The motive behind the shooting was not known and no group took responsibility.

Meanwhile, anti-occupation forces killed six US troops in a wave of attacks across southern and eastern provinces.

And guerrillas also wounded two German soldiers in Kunduz, while militant attacks in once-calm northern Afghanistan killed at least 11 police and a government official.

[Reprinted from the Morning Star, via Green Left Weekly]

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