April 30, 2007 / 7:28 AM / 13 years ago

Thousands stage anti-U.S. protest in Afghan west

HERAT, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Thousands of Afghans staged a protest on Monday accusing U.S.-led coalition and Afghan troops of killing civilians in the western province of Herat, residents said.

The protesters stormed a government district headquarters in Shindand, south of Herat city, where Western troops have a large base, they said.

Police reinforcements were sent from Herat to prevent the protesters moving on the base. Gunfire was heard but it was not immediately clear who was firing and if there were casualties.

Provincial officials refused to comment.

Earlier, the U.S.-led coalition said its troops, along with Afghan forces, had killed scores of Taliban in two separate air and ground battles in past several days in Zerkoh district, south of Shindand. Protesters insisted those killed were civilians.

The latest protest comes a day after an angry demonstration in eastern Nangahar province over the killing of civilians by coalition and Afghan forces there.

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