KABUL: The fallout from Quran burnings at a US airbase, which triggered a week of violence, has widened as Afghan ministers cancelled a visit to Washington and Western nations expanded withdrawals of civilian staff.
The moves came after two US advisers were shot dead at the interior ministry in Kabul Saturday in an attack blamed on a rogue Afghan intelligence official and claimed by the Taliban as a response to the Quran burning.
The toll since the incident at Bagram airbase north of Kabul, which inflamed anti-Western sentiment already smouldering in Afghanistan over abuses by US-led foreign troops, rose Sunday to more than 30.
In the sixth day of demonstrations, one protester was killed and seven US soldiers were wounded in a grenade attack on their base.
The Pentagon said Sunday that Afghanistan's defense and interior ministers had cancelled a visit to Washington this week to concentrate on addressing security concerns at home.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "understands why that's a priority and why they are unable to travel to Washington in the coming days", Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.
US officials have apologised repeatedly for the burning of the Qurans, which they said were inadvertently sent to an incinerator pit at the airbase. (AFP)