Javed Hamim Kakar
KABUL: Thousands of university students protesting against US forces in eastern Nangarhar province blocked the Kabul-Jalalabad Highway for hours on Wednesday.
DARONTA, Dec 9, 2009: Students of Nangarhar University burn a US flag during a protest demonstration against US forces for killing civilians in an operation in neighboring Laghman province. Thousands of protesting students blocked the Kabul-Jalalabad Highway for several hours. (Photo: PAJHWOK/Abdull Moheed Hashimi)
The demonstration was staged by Nangarhar University students in Daronta district to denounce the US forces' operation in Laghman province, where 15 civilians were allegedly killed.
The operation in the village of Armal on the outskirts of Mehtarlam triggered a violent protest. Hundreds of villagers on Tuesday brought the bodies to Mehtarlam and placed them in front of the Governor's House. One person was killed when ANA soldiers opened fire at the protesters.
Local officials blamed the US Special Forces for conducting the operation, but the NATO-led ISAF insisted only militants were killed in the offensive.
President Hamid Karzai has ordered a thorough probe into the killings and directed the Ministry of Interior to submit a report in this regard.
The Defence Ministry and NATO commander Gen McChrystal have also ordered the constitution of a team of Afghan and foreign forces to jointly investigate the operation.
A student of the Engineering Faculty at the Nangarhar University, Imranullah Kakar, told Pajhwok Afghan News more than 3,000 students participated in the demonstration. The students blocked the Kabul-Jalalabad for hours.
The demonstrators chanted slogans against US President Barack Obama, President Hamid Karzai, US forces, Afghan National Army (ANA) and the National Directorate of Security (NDS).
A student of the Shariah Faculty, Imaduddin Kakar, said the government had failed to stop attacks from US forces on civilian houses. During the protest, a convoy of US forces that wanted to pass the area returned to Jalalabad after 20 minutes of wait.