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7 US troops wounded in Afghan protest

- February 26, 2012 - Updated 1820 PKT - From Web Edition

KUNDUZ: Seven US troops were wounded Sunday when demonstrators protesting the burning of the Koran at a US base threw a grenade into their base in the northern province of Kunduz, police said.


"The demonstrators hurled a hand grenade at US special forces base in Imam Sahib town of Kunduz province -- as a result seven US special forces were wounded," Kunduz police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini told AFP.


A spokesman for US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan said: "According to initial reports, an explosion occurred outside of an ISAF installation in northern Afghanistan early this afternoon."


He said officials of NATO'S International Security Assistance Force were "gathering details at this time," adding that more information could be released later.


Local officials said one person was killed in the anti-US demonstration in Imam Sahib as some 2,000 anti-US protesters tried to march on the provincial capital but were stopped by police.


"One dead and 7 wounded protesters have been brought to hospital from Imam Sahib district so far," said hospital official Mohammadullah.


In the neighbouring province of Samangan, two protesters were wounded during a one-hour demonstration in Aybak city, provincial governor Khairullah Anosh told AFP.


The latest death brings the total toll in six days of unrest since the Koran burning at the Bagram airbase north of Kabul to more than 30.


President Hamid Karzai went on television Sunday to appeal for calm.


Karzai "condemned with the strongest words" the treatment of Islam's holy book and said the perpetrators should be punished, but told his countrymen: "Now that we have shown our feelings it is time to be calm and peaceful."


Karzai has repeatedly urged an end to the violence, but it was his first direct televised appeal on the issue. (AFP)

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A K Siddiqi
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