Afghan government pledges inquiry into violent protest after truck bomb attack


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Explosions in Kabul on Saturday killed at least six people attending a funeral reportedly attended by government officials, including members of parliament, a day after hundreds of demonstrators turned out to demand more security in the capital.

Kabul Police Chief Gen. Hassan Shah Frogh said some of the protesters Friday were carrying guns.

Officials say several were killed and wounded in the protests.

Wednesday's truck bomb, which killed more than 80 people and wounded some 460, was one of the worst since the US-led campaign to oust the Taliban in 2001 but in other respects it scarcely differed from a long series of previous attacks.

Hundreds of people participated in the demonstration Friday, two days after the deadly truck bombing blast in Zanbaq Square that also injured more than 400 people.

"Enough is enough", demonstrator Niloofar Nilgoon told Reuters.

Undeterred by Pakistan's claim that such charges are "baseless", the group of protestors held posters and banners and shouted slogans like "Pakistan is a terrorist State".

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Wednesday's bomb attack, at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was one of the worst in the Afghan capital since the US -led campaign to topple the Taliban in 2001. His body, wrapped in a bloody sheet was briefly carried through the streets. As the protesters attempted to move closer to the Presidential Palace, police sprayed them with hoses from a water tanker and later fired tear gas.

But in an already tense political climate, the violence underlined the risk of protests exacerbating divisions and resentments between ethnic and political groups within the government camp.

Abdul Hafiz Mansur, a member of Parliament from Kabul, said eight protesters were shot to death by police, the Associated Press reported.

"The genuine anger expressed by the protesters, many of whom suffered the loss of family and friends, is fully understandable", said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan.

Intelligence officials blamed the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, an Islamist militant group that has been linked to several similar attacks in the past. He said Afghan security forces were wounded, as well.

Amnesty International has called for an investigation into the use of force by security agencies against protesters, saying it "illustrates the authorities' contempt for the lives" of the Afghan public.

Taliban insurgents now control or contest around 40% of the country.