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Four Killed Amid Violence At Antigovernment Protest In Kabul


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

Authorities in Afghanistan say four people have been killed and eight injured amid confrontations between police and protesters demanding the resignation of President Ashraf Ghani's government, two days after a deadly truck-bomb blast in Kabul.

Police in riot gear fired into the air and used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters and prevent them from marching toward the presidential palace. Some reports said police also opened fire at protesters who tried to advance toward the building.

Mohammad Alam Izadyar, the first deputy chairman of the Afghan Senate, told RFE/RL that his son, Salem Izadyar, was injured in the protest and taken to a hospital, where he died. It was not immediately clear how he was injured.

Afghan media quoted the deputy interior minister for security, General Murad Ali Murad, as saying that a number of protesters and police were injured. Some protesters 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 killed at least 90 people and wounded more than 460, 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, AP, Tolonews.com, The Washington Post, and AFP
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