SURKHROD, Afghanistan - Around 1,000 people, mostly students, took to the streets in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday to protest against plans for a long-term partnership deal with the United States, which they fear could lead to an extended presence of US troops.
Afghan political and community leaders endorsed the idea of a strategic partnership, with some caveats, after a 2,000-strong national gathering, or loya jirga, which ended on Saturday.
The demonstrators gathered just outside the capital of eastern Nangarhar province and burned an effigy of US President Barack Obama as they protested against the prospect of US troops remaining in Afghanistan.
All foreign combat troops are currently slated to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with security nationwide to be handed over to the national police and army. However, other foreign advisers will remain to work with Afghan forces.