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Thursday, 4 July, 2002, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Anti-US protest in Kabul
Demonstrators in Kabul
People demonstrated outside the UN compound
Up to 200 Afghans have demonstrated in Kabul against a US bombing raid that is believed to have killed more than 40 civilians on Monday.


We consider the Americans our liberators, but after this, they may soon become occupiers

Kabul resident
It is the first time people in Afghanistan have protested against the Americans since the fall of the Taleban last year.

The demonstration came as US and Afghan officials investigating the bombing continued to look for clues at the site, in Uruzgan Province.

US forces in Afghanistan say their planes had come under anti-aircraft fire before the attack - but Afghan officials have suggested this may have been celebratory gunfire at a wedding ceremony.

In Kabul, the demonstrators - half of them women covered by traditional burqas - gathered outside the United Nations office to voice their anger.

Women demonstrators
Many women protesters wore traditional burqas
"We support coalition measures against the Taleban regime and al-Qaeda," one of the organisers said. "But we cannot tolerate more innocent victims."

"The Afghans, who have had enough of war and bloodshed in the past 23 years, will react seriously if it is repeated," said another protester.

Correspondents say the incident has alienated many Afghans.

"We consider the Americans our liberators, but after this, they may soon become occupiers," a Kabul grocer told AP news agency.

Looking for bodies

The remote village hit in Monday's air raid was a former home of the spiritual leader of the deposed Taleban regime, Mullah Mohammad Omar, a US military spokesman said.

However, the spokesman said the raid was not aimed at Mullah Omar - who has eluded capture by US-led forces so far - but at pockets of al-Qaeda fighters.

The US military says ground troops had identified the village where the wedding was held as the source of anti-aircraft fire directed at US planes.

US investigators on the joint US-Afghan fact-finding trip say they have seen some blood at the site, but no bodies or graves so far.

Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said the US investigators "saw some evidence of damage, but there was no determination of what caused the damage".

The US investigators are expected to visit additional sites and talk to more people.

The Pentagon says the fact-finding team, led by an Afghan colonel, will take some time to draw up its report.

'They were chasing us'

Survivors say 25 of the dead - all members of a single extended family - were attending a party at the home of Mohammed Sherif, brother of one of President Hamid Karzai's close allies, to celebrate the marriage of Mr Sherif's son.

US investigators looking at a hole
Witnesses say this hole was made by a US bomb
Afghans often fire weapons at weddings, but villagers insist there had been no shooting for several hours before the raid.

They say two rockets hit the house where the wedding was being celebrated, and that people fleeing to safety were shot at from the air.

"Everybody started running," Ahmed Jan Agha, one guest, told the Associated Press.

"The airplanes were shooting rockets at the people running away. They were chasing us."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kate Clark
"This was a small protest by international standards"

Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

04 Jul 02 | South Asia
02 Jul 02 | South Asia
12 Feb 02 | South Asia
06 Feb 02 | South Asia
04 Jul 02 | South Asia
23 Dec 01 | South Asia
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