PAN, April 26, 2010
Protestors burn 16 NATO tankers in Logar to protest killing of civilains
The angry residents, chanting slogans against the United States and the provincial administration
Trucks carrying supplies to coalition forces burn after hundreds of people blocked a main road and set them on fire to protest what they said were civilian deaths in NATO operations in Logar province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 25, 2010. (Photo: AP)
PUL-I-ALAM: Around 1,000 people Sunday poured onto the streets against the killing of three members of a family in a coalition operation in the central province of Logar, the second demonstration against US troops in two days.
The angry residents, chanting slogans against the United States and the provincial administration, blocked the Logar-Gardez highway in the Nasir village near Pul-i-Alam and burnt 16 tankers carrying fuel for NATO-led forces.
On Friday, hundreds of locals staged a similar demonstration to denounce the killing of five civilians by US-led troops in the Kolengar neighbourhood of the provincial capital. Also, two US service members died from their injuries suffered in the firefight.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said a Taliban sub-commander was captured along with another rebel and several insurgents were killed in the raid on a house in the Nagar village Sunday morning.
Several weapons, including an automatic rifle and pistols, were recovered from the compound, the 44-nation force said in a statement.
However, the villagers accused coalition troops of killing innocent people and demanded the "culprits be handed over to the locals". Some gunmen among the protestors intermittently fired at security forces.
Although the protestors dispersed in Pul-i-Alam at 11.30am, the key highway remained blocked and thick black smoke billowed from the oil tankers. The flames spread to a petrol pump in the area and nearby plants and crops.
The protest was called off as a result of intervention from a government delegation that visited Pul-i-Alam. As helicopters conducted an aerial patrol, national and international forces and firefighters struggled to douse the blaze.
On both sides of the busy road, scores of vehicles waited for the highway to reopen. Accompanied by three women, Ahmad Shah was one of the many stranded people. Sitting in a red Toyota Corolla car, he lashed out at security forces. "Equipped with so many resources, they can't ensure highway security."
Muhammad Ibrahim, owner of the pump station, said the blaze had destroyed much of the building besides burning 20,000 litres of diesel and two barrels of petrol.
The provincial police chief confirmed to Pajhwok Afghan News the killing of three men and arrest of two others by US troops. Brig. Gen. Ghulam Mustafa Mohseni said the US military told him the individuals were militants.
However, he added the police could not immediately determine if the men really had links to the insurgents. Mohseni accused the US soldiers of conducting the raid without any coordination with them.
Sixteen fuel tankers were seen on fire, but a spokesman for the governor insisted only three vehicles were burnt. Din Muhammad Darwesh said a fourth tanker was hijacked by the demonstrators. He added Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were part of the raiding party.
A Taliban spokesman, meanwhile, told Pajhwok more than 200 fighters had joined the protest. Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the militants had set fire to more than a dozen tankers and hijacked three others.
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