About 1,000 students marched in the Afghan capital today to protest against the alleged killing of scores of civilians in US air strikes. Chanting “Death to America,” “Death to the biggest terrorist” and “long live Islam,” they held banners reading “The blood of the Farah martyrs will never dry” and “USA is the world’s biggest terrorist,” a photographer said.
Another banner demanded that “the murderers of more than 180 martyrs of Farah” go on trial,said the photographer,who estimated crowd numbered up to 1,000. The toll from air strikes and ground fighting with Taliban in Farah province’s Bala Buluk district nearly a week ago is disputed.
President Hamid Karzai has said that 125-130 civilians,including children and women,were killed in the strikes alone. Other Afghan officials have issued differing tolls,one as high as 167.
The US military acknowledges that “a number” died in the incident but says it is not clear if they died in the air strikes or ground battles. There is also evidence the Taliban may have killed some people themselves,it said in a statement on Saturday.
The Afghan tolls would make the Farah incident one of the deadliest for civilians in foreign military strikes since the US-led led the 2001 invasion that ousted the hardline Taliban regime.