Six killed in clahses at Afghan protest

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At least six people were killed during clashes with police at a protest in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said.

There were differing accounts of what happened.

Authorities said most of the dead were Taliban insurgents who infiltrated what they described as the latest in a series of protests against alleged border intrusions by the Pakistan military.

During the demonstration Taliban gunmen opened fire, targeting government buildings and killing two drivers on a highway where hundreds of people had gathered, Kandahar province police chief General Abdul Raziq told AFP.

Raziq said police fired back at the gunmen and killed four of them.

“People were demonstrating against Pakistan but the Taliban turned it violent,” he said. “The police had to shoot.”

The Kandahar province media office said three drivers had been killed by attackers and eight Taliban had been shot dead by police in Maiwand district.

“There were some armed people who... opened fire from among the demonstrators,” it said.

Local residents told AFP the protest was against night raids on homes by joint US-Afghan forces. A Taliban spokesman said none of its fighters were involved.

A doctor in Maiwand hospital said on condition of anonymity that five bodies and 20 wounded victims had been brought in.

On Monday more than 2,000 people demonstrated and chanted “Death to Pakistan!” on the outskirts of Kabul in response to the border dispute.

Around 3,000 students held a similar rally in the eastern province of Khost that borders Pakistan.

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