Countrywide riots over the accidental destruction of Korans at an American military base have been rattling Afghanistan for almost a week and have morphed into anarchic outlets for general anger at the international community and the state of the country’s long-running conflict. Around 40 people have already died in the unrest.
The latest disturbing updates:
- Nine Afghans were killed early this morning in the eastern city of Jalalabad when a car bomb was detonated at the gates of an American military base. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said the bombing was retaliation for the burned Korans.
- Following the fatal shooting of two American advisers at the Interior Ministry in central Kabul on Saturday and the withdrawal of all NATO advisers from Afghan ministries, the US, UK, Canada and France have pulled their advisers from Afghan government offices as well.
- A crowd of rioters attacked a United Nations field office in the northern city of Kunduz yesterday [video here]. Four rioters were killed and dozens more were injured in clashes with police. For now, foreign UN staff from the Kunduz office have been relocated elsewhere in Afghanistan. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan released the following statement about the move:
Following an attack on its office in Kunduz, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is relocating its international staff to put in place additional arrangements and measures to make sure that the office can continue to operate in safety.
This temporary relocation takes place inside Afghanistan and will be for a limited period of time.
The UNAMA office in Kunduz will continue to deliver the critical programmes in the region for the people who need them the most.
UNAMA wants to reiterate that the organization is standing by the people of Afghanistan and will continue to stand as long as the people of Afghanistan want them.
President Obama and top American military officials apologized days ago for the incident that initially inspired the rioting, and Afghan president Hamid Karzai has repeatedly appealed for calm –all to no effect so far.