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Afghans Protest NATO Raid, 12 Killed

VOA News May 18, 2011

Afghan authorities say at least 12 people have been killed in violent protests against a NATO raid in northern Afghanistan that left four people dead.

More than 2,000 demonstrators clashed with police Wednesday in Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province. The protesters shouted slogans against the American and Afghan governments and carried the body of at least one of those killed in the raid through the streets. Officials say at least 80 people were injured.

Afghan officials say four civilians were killed during an overnight NATO operation in the town. But the coalition says those killed, including two armed women, were insurgents.

NATO says a combined Afghan and coalition force killed four militants who tried to fire on troops during an operation in the Taloqan district. The coalition said it was targeting a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who had been moving weapons and explosives around Takhar province.

During Wednesday's protests, police and security forces fired shots to disperse the crowds, who threw stones at a nearby German military base. German officials say at least two German soldiers were injured.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the coalition night raid that he said killed four members of a family. He said the operation was not coordinated with Afghan forces, although NATO said the operation was carried out by a joint force. Karzai demanded an explanation from the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus.

In eastern Afghanistan, officials say a suicide bomber attacked a police bus in Nangarhar province Wednesday, killing at least 13 people and wounding 20 others.

Provincial officials say the attacker rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the bus in the city of Jalalabad. The dead included police officers and civilians.

Separately on Wednesday, NATO says an insurgent attack killed one of its service members in southern Afghanistan. The coalition did not give details.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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