KABUL, Afghanistan – Hundreds of angry Afghans burned a US flag and chanted "Death to the Christians" on Thursday to protest plans by a small American church to torch copies of the Muslim holy book on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Local officials in Mahmud Raqi, the capital of Afghanistan's Kapisa province, estimated that up to 4,000 people took part in Thursday's demonstration. But NATO spokesman James Judge said the protesters numbered between 500 to 700."The Afghan national police prevented the protest from overwhelming an Afghan military outpost," and dispersed the demonstration, he told The Associated Press.
A cleric in Afghanistan's largely peaceful Balkh province also warned Thursday that, if the burning goes ahead, a protest will be held in the provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif next Monday. Protesters could hurl stones at NATO-led troops stationed in the city — one of the country's main centers of Islamic teaching.