Karzai calls for calm in Afghanistan

Feb. 26, 2012 at 10:57 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A protester was killed and several U.S. military personnel were injured Sunday in Afghanistan when protests over Koran burnings turned violent, officials said.

Demonstrators in northern Kunduz province attacked the police chief's office and a U.S. military site, CNN reported.

Kunduz police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini told CNN protesters threw a hand grenade at the base, injuring seven U.S. military personnel believed to be Special Forces members.

An International Security Assistance Force spokesman said several ISAF personnel were evacuated for medical care after an explosion and gunfire at Combat Outpost Fortitude, CNN said.

Hussaini said 16 police were injured in the attack at the police chief's office. One protester was killed and three were injured in the demonstration.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai made a public appeal for calm Sunday after six days of violent anti-Western demonstrations, sparked when U.S. troops accidentally burned copies of the Muslim Koran holy book Monday night.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for killing two U.S. senior military officers Saturday inside the Afghan Interior Ministry in Kabul,

The gunman who shot the officers -- a colonel and a major -- was an Afghan intelligence worker and devout Muslim angered by the burning of Korans, an Interior Ministry spokesman told CNN. The spokesman said Abdul Saboor had security clearance to be in the highly fortified compound.

He was still at large Sunday.

The Washington Post said the slain officers were shot in the back of the head while sitting at their desks.

Two U.S. soldiers were killed at a military base Thursday by a man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform. At least 26 Afghan citizens have also died in the protests throughout the country, the Los Angeles Times said.

There has been a flurry of diplomatic exchanges between Kabul and Washington with both Karzai and U.S. President Barack Obama apologizing for the unfolding events.

After the officers were killed Saturday, NATO Commander Gen. John Allen said he was recalling all ISAF personnel working in ministries in and around Kabul,.

NATO said the advisory staff would remain in contact with their Afghan counterparts. "We are committed to our partnership with the government of Afghanistan to reach our common goal of a peaceful, stable and secure Afghanistan in the near future," Allen said in a statement.

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