“Demonstrators in Afghanistan, joining an international wave of Muslim fury over the publication of offensive cartoons, attacked a Norwegian-led military base on Tuesday. Four demonstrators were killed and at least 20 others injured.
Demonstrators in AfghanistanThe demonstrators threw stones and hand grenades at the offices and military camp of the Norwegian-led troops in the town of Maymana, capital of the Faryab province in western Afghanistan. That turned the protest action, which began peacefully, into “a violent episode,” according to an observer.
The 33 Norwegian military personnel on duty at the base were attacked by as many as 300 demonstrators. Five of the Norwegians were injured when they were hit by flying rocks and splinters from the grenades.
The Associated Press reported that the Norwegian soldiers used tear gas in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators. Two female passersby were reportedly hit by stones and taken to a local hospital.
The attack began in the late morning in Afghanistan. After a few hours, the demonstrators broke through the outside gate of the compound, and made their way into the outer areas of the military compound.
A Norwegian Defense Ministry spokesman said the demonstrators had begun to set fires, and a car inside the military camp was in flames. The soldiers called for backup, and a jet fighter swooped overhead in an effort to frighten the demonstrators.
“This is very dramatic and serious,” Commander Thom Knustad told Aftenposten.no. “This is an attack on a NATO base in Afghanistan.” The base is staffed mostly by about 50 soldiers from Norway and additional troops from Finland.
Flag-burning on Monday:
Norwegian Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strøm Erichsen had said Monday night that she was worried about incidents where the Norwegian flag was burned in Afghanistan, but she stressed that she believed Norwegian soldiers were safe.
The growing anger against Norway in Kabul occurred just as Norway was sending four F-16 fighter jets from a Norwegian base in Bodø to Afghanistan, to strengthen the NATO-led forces in the country.
Strøm-Erichsen acknowledged that the arrival of the jets added to the attention focused on the Norwegian presence in Afghanistan, but she said there were no plans to change any of the assignments for the Norwegian soldiers.
Norway evacuated its embassy in Kabul on Monday night, however, over concerns about the safety of its personnel.”
Lifted story by Korir,
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