Protests At Main U.S. Afghan Base

Afghan protesters demonstrate outside the U.S. base in Bagram, around 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, July 26, 2005. More than 1,000 protesters chanted "Die America!" and "Die Karzai" as they banged on the gates of the main U.S. base in Afghanistan to demand the release of three local villagers detained in a raid. (AP Photo/Tomas Munita)
U.S. and Afghan troops fired warning shots after more than 1,000 protesters chanting "Die America!" threw stones at a U.S. military convoy and at the main U.S. base in Afghanistan to demand the release of eight villagers detained in a raid.

Afghan troops used batons to beat back the protesters as they tried to push down the base's outer gate, as black smoke from burning tires billowed across the area.

In other developments:

  • Fighting between Taliban rebels and U.S. and Afghan forces killed about 50 suspected militants and two Afghan soldiers, in the deadliest clashes in weeks ahead of crucial legislative elections, a provincial governor said Tuesday. A U.S. military statement issued Monday said that heavy fighting in Uruzgan province's Dihrawud district had killed one American service member, an Afghan soldier and 11 rebels. Three U.S. troops and one Afghan soldier were also wounded, it said.
  • Police arrested 10 suspected Taliban insurgents after clashes in southeastern Zabul province, said a spokesman for the provincial governor.
  • In eastern Paktika province Tuesday, a candidate in the upcoming legislative elections was killed when a roadside bomb blew up next to his vehicle as he was taking his sick mother to hospital, local police chief Malik Khan said. The mother was wounded.

    The violence in Bagram erupted after six U.S. military vehicles traveling in a convoy tried to enter the base. The protesters threw stones at them before troops inside the cars leaned out their windows and fired into the air with handguns.

    The vehicles then sped into the base and the demonstrators chased them, trying to push down a metal gate guarded by Afghan forces. The soldiers used sticks to beat back the protesters and several fired into the air with their assault rifles as they shouted at the protesters to go home. Most dispersed.