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Protests over Afghan 'mosque raid'

AlJazeera.net

mosque-raid-.afghanistan_kab103.jpg

Afghan men shouts anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration against the alleged desecration of the Quran by U.S. forces during a raid in a mosque in Deh Khodaidad village in Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.



Feb 27, 2009



Hundreds of protesters have clashed with police in southern Afghanistan amid claims international forces opened fire inside a mosque and copies of the Quran were ripped up.

Rocks were thrown at police and at least three demonstrators were wounded by gunfire after about 500 people demonstrated in Ghazni on Friday, said Mohammad Zaman, the province's police chief.

The protest came a day after Polish troops were accused of shooting their weapons inside the mosque in Dhi Khodaidad village and beating local residents.

"We don't know if the Polish forces entered a mosque or not, but the protesters are claiming that," Zaman said.

Investigation launched

One of the protesters told the Associated Press that he was in the mosque when troops entered and opened fire, although no-one was injured.

At least two bullets hit the door of the mosque, said Kazim Allayar, deputy provincial governor, during a visit to the site of the alleged incident.

Government officials will meet with Polish forces on Saturday to find out if they were involved, he said.

Lieutenant Commander Chris Hall said, a Nato spokesman, said they were no reports of international troops being in the area where Thursday's incident allegedly occurred.

Civilian deaths

Robert Rochowicz, a spokesman for Poland's defence ministry, said he had "no information at all about any kind of incident concerning Polish troops in Afghanistan".

International forces have been battling fighters loyal to the Taliban, which has been resurgent in Afghanistan's southern provinces in recent months.

Nato and the US have both been criticised by the Afghan government over a series of raids in which civilians were killed.

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has urged international forces to do more to respect the local population and prevent civilian deaths.






:: Article nr. 52211 sent on 19-nov-2009 04:43 ECT

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Link: english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/02/2009227165944958848.html



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