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Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Quetta protest draws thousands
Pro-Taleban protesters in Quetta
Anti-US sentiment runs high in Quetta
Thousands of Taleban supporters have marched through the Pakistan border city of Quetta, chanting "Death to America".

Afghanistan will be the graveyard for the troops of the US

Although the demonstration defied a government ban in the south-western city, there were only minor scuffles with police, who were carrying tear gas and batons.

Foreign journalists were confined to their hotels as protesters made their way through the city, brandishing posters of Osama Bin Laden and beating an effigy of US President George W Bush.

The rally was organised by the hardline Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) group to warn the United States not to attack Afghanistan.

Call to arms

The rally heard anti-US speeches from religious leaders, including calls for every mosque in Pakistan to keep a register of volunteers willing to fight in Afghanistan.

The Koran
Protesters see an attack on Afghanistan as an attack on Islam
"Afghanistan will be the graveyard for the troops of the US," the crowd chanted.

Protesters also described Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf as a traitor for supporting the United States' planned retaliation for the attacks on Washington and New York.

General Musharraf's government has pledged to assist Washington in its so-called coalition against terrorism, in a radical shift from its traditional stance as one of the Taleban's few allies.

No surrender

Meanwhile, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press agency, AIP, said thousands of people took part in a rally in the Taleban's southern Afghan stronghold of Kandahar.

Protester in Quetta
Bin Laden is seen as an Islamic hero
More than 10,000 protestors denounced exiled King Mohammed Zahir Shah, who has struck a deal with anti-Taleban forces, said AIP.

The rally was the first major demonstration to be held in Kandahar since the 11 September terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Reports said the demonstrators also adopted a resolution vowing not to hand over prime suspect Osama Bin Laden.

See also:

02 Oct 01 | South Asia
Pakistan blamed for Kashmir assault
25 Sep 01 | South Asia
The wild border town of Quetta
01 Oct 01 | Americas
Taleban statement dismissed by US
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who is Osama Bin Laden?
01 Oct 01 | South Asia
Musharraf admits failure over Taleban
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