Anti-U.S. protests turn deadly in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (CBS/AP) -- Afghan officials say seven people have been killed in clashes between Afghan security forces and protesters demonstrating over what the U.S. has said was the inadvertent burning of Muslim holy books at a NATO military base.

CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata reports the U.S. Embassy in Kabul was locked down - nobody being allowed in or out - over concerns for security of the staff amid the violent protests.

The ministry said in a statement the deaths occurred Wednesday in the Afghan capital of Kabul, in the eastern city of Jalalabad, and in the provinces of Logar and Parwan, which alone accounted for four of the deaths.

The ministry said security guards at a U.S. base outside Kabul killed one man, while one man each was killed during protests in Jalalabad and Logar.

In Kabul, police shot into the air over a crowd gathered outside a housing complex for foreigners and a U.S. base on the city's outskirts. Nearby, angry demonstrators set a fuel truck ablaze on a main highway linking the Afghan capital with the eastern city of Jalalabad.

"Death to America," chanted the angry protesters as they hurled rocks and set fires outside the complex, which is home to foreign contractors, police and some coalition military forces.

The U.S. had apologized Tuesday for the burning of books, including Qurans, that had been pulled from the shelves of a detention center library adjoining Bagram air base because they contained extremist messages or inscriptions.

The White House later echoed military officials and said the burning of Qurans and other Islamic reading material that had been tossed in a pile of garbage was an accident.

D'Agata reports that sources tell CBS News the protests around Bagram have made it difficult for the U.S. military to get the necessary water supplies into the base in the past couple days.

As the rally Wednesday in Kabul turned violent, the city's police chief Mohammad Ayub Salangi arrived at the scene with hundreds of reinforcements. Police later said the demonstrations had been broken up and that the situation in Kabul was now under control.

"They have the right to demonstrate, but they have to do it in accordance with the law," said Salangi's deputy, police chief Daud Amin, who was also outside the housing complex.

"It is their right to demonstrate. We are also Muslim and we say it was a wrong action from the Islamic point of view," he added about the Quran incident.

A doctor at Kabul's Wazir Akbar Khan hospital said at least 10 protesters had been brought to the hospital with gunshot wounds. The doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said one of the wounded was in critical condition.


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