AFGHANISTAN: US killings spark riots

Issue 

Rohan Pearce

Riots broke out in the Afghan capital of Kabul on May 29 after a US military truck crash. The truck crushed dozens of cars during peak-hour traffic, reported anti-imperialist group Left Radical of Afghanistan. According to LRA, 56 people were killed or injured.

A statement issued by the group said that, after the crash, residents began to throw stones at the military convoy of US and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF — the NATO-led force) vehicles, chanting slogans including "Death to USA", "Death to occupiers", "Death to Karzai" (referring to Afghanistan's US-backed puppet President Hamid Karzai), "They are plunderers" and "They are murderers". In response, the statement claims, US/ISAF forces opened fire, killing more than 80 people and injuring hundreds.

Radio Free Europe reported on June 6: "Karzai condemned the firing by U.S. troops on the crowd and also has condemned the rioters, portraying them as insurgents and opportunists. In a televised speech he said he 'strongly condemns the coalition forces' firing' on people blocking the path of the U.S. convoy. He said the rioters 'destroyed some of our achievements in a matter of hours'."

The US claims that its troops opened fire in self defence, but RFE reported that "The possibility that the crowd may have fired on U.S. troops is not debated by either official or unofficial Afghan sources".

LRA reported that more people were killed during protests the next day. Protesters included "tens of thousands people such as school students, wage [labourers], youths, unemployed individuals" and others.

LRA has called for progressive forces to demand the release of protesters who were detained during the riots and protests: "Now, more than 200 youths, students and [labourers] have been detained and facing dreadful investigation and brutal tortures, humiliation and probably long [prison] sentences."

The group has called for letters of protest to be sent to Karzai's office at <rafiullahjawed@hotmail.com> and the interior ministry at <Imashal@yahoo.com>, and request that a copy is to the LRA at <lr_afg@yahoo.com>.

From Green Left Weekly, June 14, 2006.
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