Anti-American riots spread like wildfire across Afghanistan and into Pakistan.
The biggest anti-US protests since the fall of the Taliban spread across Afghanistan, as unrest sparked by alleged abuse of the Koran at the US jail in Guantanamo Bay left three more people dead.
Seven people have been killed and at least 76 injured during three days of violent demonstrations, all of them in clashes with security forces and police in conservative towns east of the capital Kabul.
Angry Afghans shouting “Death to America” poured onto the streets of Kabul itself for the first time Thursday as protests at the reported religious desecration also broke out in 10 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
The Koran controversy has also spread to Pakistan, where demonstrations were held in Peshawar and Quetta, two major cities close to the border with Afghanistan.
In Kabul, student demonstrators shouted slogans calling on US President George W. Bush to apologise to Islamic countries and set a US flag ablaze. The protest ended peacefully.
Thousands of people also took to the streets in the northern provinces of Parwan, Kapisa and Takhar, Laghman in the east, Logar and Khost in the southeast and the southern province of Kandahar.
The United Nations and foreign aid agencies evacuated hundreds of workers from Jalalabad fearing further violence.
Veteran Afghan analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai said the protests gave the public a chance to vent their anger at President Hamid Karzai’s government and the United States itself, but were unlikely to be coordinated.
“This is the biggest protest campaign in Afghanistan since the ouster of Taliban regime,” the Pakistan-based analyst said.