Afghans demand arrest of US troops over killings
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Hundreds of Afghans blocked a major highway south of Kabul on Tuesday, carrying freshly dug-up bodies they claimed were victims of torture by U.S. special forces and demanding the Americans be arrested, officials said.
A spokesman for the U.S.-led military coalition said the claims are false.
Violence erupted at the rally and two of the demonstrators were killed but the cause of their deaths was unclear, said Mohammand Hussain Fahimi, a provincial council member in Wardak, 45 kilometers (27 miles) south of Kabul.
The three bodies were dug up earlier on Tuesday morning near a former U.S. special forces base in Nirkh district, according to Attaullah Khogyanai, the provincial governor’s spokesman. Six other bodies were unearthed there in the past few weeks.
Khogyanai said an investigation was underway but that it was too soon to say if the three were among at least nine people who villagers say disappeared into American custody and were never seen again.
U.S. special forces withdrew from parts of Wardak earlier this year at the insistence of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, following alleged torture, kidnapping and summary execution of militant suspects there — charges U.S. officials have firmly denied.
Tuesday’s rally brought a car with the three bodies to the local provincial governor’s office, then protesters fanned out and blocked traffic on the main road from Kabul to Kandahar, said Fahimi, the council member.
“They were throwing stones and shouting against the government and the (American) special forces, saying, ‘We want the killers of these innocent civilians to be prosecuted,'” Fahimi said.