Police fire on Afghans protesting civilian deaths

Police fired on rock-throwing protesters Thursday who were angry about civilian deaths they blame on American bombing runs in western Afghanistan, a local official said, as US military and Afghan investigators examined the site. In the melee outside the governor's office in the capital of Farah province, one protester was wounded by a bullet and five more suffered other injuries after they tried to storm the main government building there, said Gul Ahmad Ayubi, a health department official in the province. The group was protesting the deaths of civilians in the villages of Ganjabad and Gerani, said Belqis Roshan, a provincial council member. The international Red Cross and local officials said the people were killed by US bombs, though the military said that may not have been the case. Mohammad Nieem Qadderdan, a former district chief of Bala Buluk who visited the site of Monday's battle, said 100 to 120 people were killed. If 100 civilians died in the fight, it would be deadliest case of civilian casualties since the 2001 US-led invasion. The Red Cross said women and children were among dozens of dead.