October 12, 2001
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Violent protests in Pakistan over US attacks

K J M Varma in Islamabad

Anti-US protest broke out in Pakistan on Friday with hundreds of pro-Taleban activists clashing with police and torching an American fast food restaurant and several vehicles.

Police had to fire teargas shells to contain hundreds of demonstrators who turned violent and torched an outlet of the US-based Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

Firefighters rushed to the site and put out the fire, the reports said. There were no immediate reports of any casualties.

While one group of protestors attacked the KFC outlet, another group of agitators set fire to a passenger bus in the southern part of the city after forcing the passengers to alight.

The reports said at least three other vehicles were torched in different parts of the city.

There were also reports of factories being attacked in the industrial suburb of western Karachi, the reports said.

Security has been beefed up with para-military forces patrolling the streets of Quetta and Peshawar, bordering Afghanistan, in view of the call given by major Islamic political parties for nationwide demonstrations and strikes against the US military actions in Afghanistan and Pakistan's support to it.

Earlier this week, the two cities, home of most of the Afghan refugees, had witnessed violent protests.

Pakistani guards have dug trenches near the town of Chaman along the border with Afghanistan and set up new lines of barbed wire.

A Pakistani official at the border said they (trenches and wire) were a precautionary measure but gave no details.

In the southern city of Jacobabad in Sindh province, soldiers and police patrolled the streets and residential rooftops, tightening security near an air base that Pakistan government officials and witnesses say is being used by American personnel.

Roads heading towards Jacobabad air base were also closed and blocked.

Early on Friday morning, US fighter jets launched the pre-dawn strikes in the north and east of Afghanistan's capital Kabul shortly after US President George Bush addressed a press conference at the White house where he said 'it may take a year or two' to track down Saudi exile Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network Al Qaeda, but asserted that after the military operations, launched on Sunday night, "We have got them on the run."

The fresh attacks rocked the Afghan capital Kabul and adjoining areas. The ground trembled and windows rattled in the city from the force of the impact of the explosions.

Taleban's anti-aircraft guns went into action as US jets dropped three bombs in rapid succession and within 20 minutes another fighter plane dropped two more bombs in the north and east of Kabul.

Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press said Kandahar, the stronghold of the militia, was also bombed on Friday morning.

The Taleban claimed that at least 160 bodies were recovered from a village near Jalalabad, which has been the target of repeated US air attacks since the operation was launched.

Late on Thursday night, a huge fireball lit up the sky over the eastern part of Kabul in the direction of a training base of Osama's Al Qaeda terrorist network.


Musharraf warns extremists against breaking the law
Pak braces for a showdown with religious parties
Protests in Kashmir valley

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