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Security Forces Fire Into Air Amid Kabul Protest Over Bombing


Afghan police clash with demonstrators during a protest in Kabul on June 2.

Afghan security forces have fired into the air near a crowd of protesters demanding the resignation of President Ashraf Ghani's government, two days after a massive truck bomb blast killed at least 90 people in Kabul.

Police also used water cannon to disperse protesters who gathered on June 2 and prevent them from advancing toward the presidential palace.

Some protesters appeared to have been injured in clashes with law enforcement, and some threw stones at police.

The chaotic scenes unfolded after more than 1,000 protesters gathered near the site of the May 31 morning-rush-hour attack that also wounded more than 460 people, most of them civilians.

The deadliest bombing in the capital since a U.S.-led invasion drove the Taliban from power in 2001, it compounded questions about the Western-backed government's ability to protect citizens from militant groups including the Taliban and Islamic State (IS).

Some protesters carried pictures of victims of the attack, many of whom were women and children.

Others carried antigovernment signs and banners, including one that said, "As long as Ghani is in the [presidential palace], there is death."

"Ghani! Abdullah! Resign! Resign!" read one poster -- a reference to Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who have led the beleaguered country under a power-sharing deal hammered out after a bitter and disputed election in 2014.

Reuters reported that security forces fired into the air as some protesters attempted to cross a police cordon.

Afghan media outlet Tolonews.com quoted protesters as saying that six of them were detained by the police.

There was no immediate comment from Afghan authorities.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Taliban has denied involvement.

Reuters has reported that Afghanistan's main intelligence agency, the National Directorate for Security, believes it was carried out by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network with assistance from Pakistan -- a charge also leveled by some former Afghan officials.

With reporting by Reuters and Tolonews.
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