KABUL, Afghanistan – About 1,000 Afghans shouting “Death to Pakistan” demonstrated in front of Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul Wednesday, blaming the neighboring country for some of the bloodiest border clashes in years.
Many of the demonstrators were from the eastern province of Paktia, where the fighting between Afghan and Pakistani troops killed at least 13 Afghan border guards and civilians so far this week.
The demonstrators carried banners and shouted “Death to the ISI! Death to Musharraf,” a reference to Pakistan’s intelligence agency and President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
Afghan police wearing riot gear guarded the embassy in downtown Kabul. There were no reports of violence.
“We’ve run out of patience with Pakistan,” said Sultan Uddin, 50, from the Jaji district of Paktia. “We’re requesting President (Hamid) Karzai to give us weapons and remove the border police. We know how to deal with Pakistan.”
In tank, terrorists aligned with the Taliban in South Waziristan fired rockets into a marketplace, killing five civilians,
more from the Daily Times:
Five civilians were killed in a rocket attack by suspected tribal militants in Tank city on Tuesday.
â€œUp to five innocent civilians were killed,â€ Tank District Nazim Riaz Kundi told Daily Times. Twelve people including two policemen were wounded.
The five people were killed when tribal militants fired a rocket at a grain market, said eyewitnesses and police officials.
â€œPolice have located a group of about 15 armed militants and we are trying to nab them,â€ district police chief Zulfiqar Cheema told AFP.
The city has been placed under curfew since Monday when militants linked to the Taliban in South Waziristan again attacked security forces in the city despite a truce.
â€œAs long as law enforcement agencies do not take action against madrassas of Maulana sahib, the law and order situation will not improve,â€ the nazim said in an apparent reference to Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the opposition leader in the National Assembly. â€œMilitants are sheltering in the madrassas,â€ he said.
He said he had told security agencies to move against the suspected madrassas, â€œbut the police are turning a blind eye to the madrassas and why they are doing this one can understand easilyâ€.
What I’ve been saying all along, it’s the murder-mullahs who fuel the fire, and in the end it’s greed for power that feeds their desire. Now that it’s in Pakistan, and they are seeing the Ummah kill each other, how long will it take for the scales to fall from Pakistan’s eyes?
Some of the unrest is caused by sending the Afghan refugees home, and the government is still pressing forward on that, just as Iran did by turning out 25,000 Afghan refugees earlier this month. From Daily Times:
At least three Pakistani villagers and an Afghan refugee were killed on Wednesday in a clash with police sent to demolish homes near a refugee camp that authorities want to close, officials and residents said.
The trouble began when â€œpolice refused to listen to our pleas and tried to demolish homes of local villagersâ€ near the Pir Alizai camp, said Abdul Shakoor Kokozai, a tribal elder.
He said the ensuing shootout left four people dead, including an Afghan refugee.
â€œWe are Pakistanis. We donâ€™t want to be made homeless,â€ he said, adding that five Pakistani villagers and three refugees were injured when police fired tear gas and swung batons.
There were conflicting reports about the incident. Chaman Nazim Hamid Ullah Achakzai said police had been sent only to demolish homes vacated by Afghan refugees, not those of Pakistanis living in the area.
Some refugees apparently joined local residents in opposing the police action. Zaman Khan, a senior police officer in Chaman, said police used tear gas against 300 to 400 camp residents blocking the Quetta-Chaman highway in protest.
About 36,000 people live in Pir Alizai, one of four large camps that the Pakistani government plans to close by September.
President Gen Pervez Musharraf has said the camps must close because both Taliban militants and criminal gangs use them to traffic the opium and heroin produced by Afghanistanâ€™s booming drug industry. Pakistan plans to repatriate all 2 million Afghan refugees who have not yet joined millions of their compatriots in returning home since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
In other news, the mad cleric of Jamia Hafsa / Lal Masjid has dropped out of talks again because some of his militant students were arrested:
Chief Cleric of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz on Wednesday announced to terminate dialogue with PML President Shujaat Hussain on Jamia Hafsa crisis.
In a statement, Maulana Abdul Aziz said the Lal Masjid administration had decided to end dialogue with Chaudhry Shujaat following the kidnapping of its madrassa students by government agencies. He said Abdul Basir, Abdul Haq, Ismail were among the kidnapped students. He said the Lal Masjid administration was sincere in carrying ahead the talks but the government had ditched it through kidnappings.