After Koran burning in U.S.
Afghanistan erupts with anti-U.S./NATO protests
Published Apr 17, 2011 9:01 PM
Already bogged down in a bitter war of occupation, the U.S. has found itself
facing renewed outrage by Afghans who are protesting both the U.S. and its NATO
allies. Otherwise “pacified” cities have joined with guerrilla
forces operating mainly in the countryside to demand that U.S. and NATO forces
Anger over the burning of the Muslim holy book by a Florida-based reactionary
religious sect fueled the latest protests. The sect burning of the Quran took
place on March 20 under the supervision of Terry Jones. Last September, after
backing down from previous threats to burn the Quran, Jones had promised never
to burn the Muslim holy book.
On April 1, thousands of demonstrators in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif
poured into the streets after Friday prayers and overran a U.N. compound,
killing three U.N. staff members and four Nepalese guards. Security forces
killed four demonstrators.
The next day hundreds of Afghans holding copies of the Quran over their heads
marched in Kandahar before attacking cars and businesses. Security forces
opened fire and nine protesters were killed. Kandahar’s governor claimed
that officers had only fired into the air. He said 81 were wounded and 17
people, including seven armed men, had been arrested.
In Jalalabad, the largest city in the east, hundreds of people blocked the main
highway for three hours, shouting for U.S. troops to leave, burning an effigy
of President Barack Obama and stomping on a drawing of a U.S. flag. More than
1,000 people set tires ablaze to block the highway in eastern Parwan province
for about an hour, provincial police chief Sher Ahmad Maladani told the
Associated Press. (April 3)
Resentment building for years
Resentment has been building for years in Afghanistan over the operations of
Western military forces, who are blamed for killing and mistreating civilians,
and international contractors, who are seen by many as enriching themselves and
fueling corruption at the expense of ordinary Afghans.
Coverage of the ongoing trial of a group of U.S. soldiers charged with killing
Afghan civilians and publication of photos taken by some of those soldiers
posing with dead bodies also fueled that anger.
Military commander and top NATO civilian representative in Afghanistan, Gen.
Mark Sedwill, rather lamely said that they “hope the Afghan people
understand that the actions of a small number of individuals, who have been
extremely disrespectful to the Holy Qur’an, are not representative of any
of the countries of the international community who are in Afghanistan to help
the Afghan people.” (AP, April 3)
But the people of Afghanistan aren’t buying this lie.
Not surprisingly, the Florida group burned the Quran just one week after Rep.
Peter King’s “Homeland Security” Congressional Committee
launched a vicious attack on the U.S. Muslim community. King demanded an
investigation into all mosques to see whether they were doing enough to find
and expose “terrorists.” King was appealing to racist reactionary
constituents who have been trying to stop the building of a mosque in downtown
Afghans and Muslims around the world might very well ask, “Who is
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