Afghan officials: 6 killed in Quran protest

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KABUL (AP) — Afghan officials say six people have been killed in southern Afghanistan as protesters claiming that international troops destroyed copies of the Quran clashed with security forces.

A NATO spokesman denied that the foreign troops desecrated any copies of Islam’s holy book in Sunday’s operation in Helmand province.

The top official in Garmsir district said the protest of about 2,000 people turned violent Tuesday as demonstrators fought with security forces, leaving six civilians dead. A provincial spokesman confirmed six dead but did not say if they were civilians.

NATO forces said only one person was killed during the protest — an insurgent sniper who shot at an Afghan official and was killed by NATO troops.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

KABUL (AP) — Thirteen insurgents were killed Tuesday in southern Afghanistan by a missile that international forces fired from an unmanned aerial vehicle, NATO said.

NATO said coalition troops saw a group of insurgents near a safe house preparing ammunition as well as insurgent mortar teams moving equipment in the Naw Zad area of Helmand province. The international force launched one missile, killing the 13 militants.

On Monday, another missile fired from an unmanned aircraft killed three insurgents farther south in the Nad Ali district of Helmand, NATO said.

In the south-central part of the country, a member of the Afghan National Police was killed and two others were wounded in a suicide attack Monday evening at a police station in Uruzgan province, police chief Juma Gul Hamit said. The suicide bomber detonated his cache of explosives near the gate of the police chief’s office in Dihrawud district.

Hamit said the attacker tried to enter the office where a meeting was under way. Although wounded by police, the bomber detonated his explosive vest, killing the one policeman and injuring the two others who kept him from going inside.

In Paris, meanwhile, the French military said a French army captain died Tuesday of wounds suffered a day before during an insurgent ambush in the Alasay valley east of Kabul. Another French soldier was killed instantly in the same ambush.

Both casualties were with a joint Afghan and French army patrol that was attacked by small arms fire in a village market place.

France has some 3,500 troops with NATO in Afghanistan. It has lost 38 men in Afghanistan since 2001.


Associated Press Writer Noor Khan in Kandahar contributed to this report.