By Mahbob Shah Mahbob
More than 20 people were severely beaten by a group of Afghan National Army (ANA) troops on Sunday on the outskirts of Mehtarlam, the capital of eastern Laghman province, residents said.
The incident came a day after unknown individuals hauled down a national flag on a local police post and tore it up in Obozai area, said Malak Naqib Jalili, who got one his hands broken in the assault.
"ANA soldiers came yesterday along local police men and started hitting residents with the butts of their guns," the provincial development council member said.
Up to 20 people suffered injuries with many had their bones broken, according to Naqib, who insisted the victims were locals and had no involvement in the flag tearing incident.
Local residents gathered in front of a mosque in the morning to protest the forces.
However, the governor's spokesman strongly rejected as baseless that ANA troops had physically abused residents.
"There has been a clash between ANA soldiers and militants at a time when someone had theft a national flag from the police post," Sarhadi Zwak told Pajhwok Afghan News.
201st Selab Military Corps spokesman Col. Mohammad Noman Hatifi said their troops had not moved to the area where the alleged incident occurred. He expressed unawareness from the Obozai attack.
But Laghman council chief Mir Hatim Tarakhel confirmed the incident, saying the residents had informed him they were planning protests.