2 die in Afghan protests over Koran burning
KABUL, Afghanistan — Two protesters died and four were injured as Afghans protested for a third day yesterday against a plan by an American pastor to burn copies of the Islamic holy book, despite his decision to call it off.
Mohammad Rahim Amin, chief of the Baraki Barak district in eastern Logar Province, said the deaths and injuries occurred when Afghan soldiers opened fire on hundreds of protesters trying to storm local government headquarters.
During recent protests against the Koran burning, Afghans have regularly targeted the pro-Western government.
Terry Jones, pastor of a small Florida church, said Saturday that “we feel that God is telling us to stop’’ the Koran burning, which was to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
The plan to burn the Koran stirred outrage among millions of Muslims worldwide.
Protesters in Logar chanted “Death to America,’’ burned tires, attacked several shops, and set election campaign posters on fire, Amin said.
“I can say for sure that this was the work of the enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan who are trying to use any opportunity to disrupt the security situation,’’ Amin said.
In a country where most people have limited access to newspapers, television, and the Internet, many Afghans seemed unaware of Jones’s decision to call off the Koran burning.