- Title: Bloodshed at wedding party fuels Afghan anger as elections near
- Date: 24th September 2019
- Summary: HELMAND, AFGHANISTAN (SEPTEMBER 24, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS CARRYING BANNER AND CHANTING (Pashto): "DEATH TO INFIDELS AND STOP KILLING AFGHANS" VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS MARCHING ON THE STREET AND CHANTING (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) PROTESTER, ABDUL WALI, SAYING: "Last night 40 people were killed when a wedding ceremony was bombarded in Musa Qala district. Yet, no one has spoken on this issue. So, these types of tragedies are not acceptable to us and our people anymore." PROTESTERS CARRYING BANNER AND CHANTING PROTESTERS CHANTING (Pashto): "GOD IS THE GREATEST, WE WANT PEACE" PROTESTERS MARCHING AND CHANTING
- Embargoed: 8th October 2019 15:56
- Keywords: Afghan wedding protests U.S. Helmand
- Location: HELMAND, AFGHANISTAN
- City: HELMAND, AFGHANISTAN
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Bombing (non-military),Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA001AY0Q2PZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS NOTE: QUALITY AS INCOMING
Hundreds of Afghans marched on Tuesday (September 24) in protest against the deaths of at least 40 wedding party guests who were caught in the crossfire of a clash between U.S.-backed government forces and Islamist militants.
With presidential elections due this coming Saturday (September 28), the killings and the many more before them threaten to alienate Afghanistan's people from the elite in the capital Kabul.
Civilians have paid a heavy price in a war that has intensified since U.S.-Taliban peace talks collapsed two weeks ago. The wedding deaths occurred days after a U.S. drone strike killed 32 pine nut harvesters but which officials said was aimed at militants.
On Sunday night (September 22), members of the wedding party were caught in the crossfire of explosions and bullets during a U.S.-backed Afghan government force raid on a nearby Islamist hideout, officials in Helmand said.
Tuesday's marchers demanded an investigation into the deaths and justice for the victims.
Though the protest was peaceful, anger was palpable as demonstrators chanted a call for death to the civilians' killers, a Reuters reporter said.
Some said civilians had been deliberately targeted, others expressed fatigue at the frequency of such events.
Last week President Ashraf Ghani promised measures to reduce civilian casualties. On Monday (September 23), he called for "extra caution" in military operations and ordered investigations.
(Production: Mohammad Stanekzai,Sayed Hassib)
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