Afghan civilians have demonstrated during the weekend for the removal of Western troops from their country. They have also expressed opposition to the Karzai government which is backed by the US and UK, saying that it is failing to protect them from violence.
The city of Maza-i-Sharif saw a demonstration yesterday (10 July) calling for the removal of all 'occupation' forces. It was triggered by a pre-dawn raid on the city last week, in which US troops are reported to have killed two civilians.
The demonstrators also expressed their anger over the deaths of six civilians in Pakita Province. Although the Aghan Interior Ministry initially blamed their deaths on a rocket attack by “militants”, responsibility has now been accepted by NATO, who blamed “stray” artillery.
Only the day before, NATO admitted accidentally killing five Afghan soldiers who were on their own side.
Elsewhere in Pakita province, controversy erupted yesterday over a mass shooting on a bus by an unidentified gunman. Eleven or twelve people, apparently civilians, are said to have been killed in the incident, although reports are not consistent. No group is known to have claimed responsibility for the attack.
The controversy triggered a demonstration today (11 July) in Puli Alam city, in Logar province, where protesters objected to the government's apparent inability to protect civilians from violence. They accuse the Karzai regime of failing to investigate the matter properly and of issuing inaccurate information about it.