Central & South Asia
Afghan named suspect in ministry shootings
Afghan police officer named as suspect in ISAF shootings as another attack is launched on a US base in the north.
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2012 05:26

An Afghan police intelligence officer has been named as the chief suspect in Saturday's shooting of two ISAF military advisers in Kabul's interior ministry.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Afghan ministry of interior named 25-year-old Abdul Saboor as a suspect in the killings of two high-ranking American advisers at close range.

"An employee has been identified as a suspect and he has now fled. The interior ministry is trying to arrest the suspected individual," it said in a statement.



Also on Sunday, seven US military trainers were wounded when protesters in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan threw a grenade at a forward operating base, provincial police chief Samihullah Qatra said.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed there had been an explosion outside one of its bases, but declined to comment on casualties.

Police sources told Al Jazeera that two Afghans were killed, six others injured and one police officer was injured in the small arms fire that followed the grenade blast.

According to Afghan media sources, Saboor, the intelligence officer, was also known as Salangi, and was given a pistol as recently as last week after being cleared by the operation directorate of the interior ministry.

Official sources said Salangi had signed into the high security ministry on both Saturday morning and afternoon.

The sources went on to tell Afghan media that Saboor was seen in the vicinity but ultimately managed to flee following the shooting at the ministry's command and control centre.

Saboor's family have been arrested and a nation-wide investigation into his whereabouts has been launched in Afghanistan.

Salangi is believed to have joined the police force in 2010, where he was assigned to the intelligence department and went on to become a junior police officer working as a driver for senior police officials.

He had previously been dismissed from the police force due to absenteeism but was rehired to work in the intelligence section of the ministry, the source said.

Calls for calm

The ministry's statement on the intelligence officer came a day after NATO announced that all foreign advisers will be pulled out of their posts in Kabul following the shooting.

French and German embassies in Kabul have now followed suit, announcing a temporary withdrawal of all staff from Afghan government institutions.

Al Jazeera's Ghida Fakhry speaks to ISAF spokesperson about withdrawal of advisers

President Hamid Karzai speaking at a press conference on Sunday morning called for "restraint and calm" saying that the Afghan government has sent its officials to the Bagram air base to investigate reports on copies of the Quran being burnt.

"Now that we have shown our sentiments and defended our
belief and religious values with the cost of our lives,
it's time to regain and preserve calm. We should not allow
enemies to misuse it and to risk our country and our
people's properties. I hope our people can preserve calm,"
Karzai said during a press conference broadcast live on Afghan television.

The Afghan president also said that he would be speaking to his US counterpart,  Barack Obama, in a video conference later this week and would call for an investigation into the incident so that those responsible could be held accountable.

"On behalf of the Afghanistan nation and the sentiment of Afghans, in fact world Muslims - we repeated our demand
that the American government put on trial and punish those who committed this action (Koran burning)," Karzai said.

Despite the calls for calm, protests erupted again on Sunday.

Witnesses told the Reuters news agency that thousands took to the streets in the northern provinces of Kunduz and Samangan.

"The demonstrators hurled a hand grenade at US special forces base in Imam Sahib city of Kunduz province -- as a result seven US special forces were wounded," Kunduz police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini told the AFP news agency.

The crowd at Kunduz's provincial capital, Imam Sahib, was estimated to be as high as 2,000 according to local officials.

In neighbouring Samangan province, two protesters were wounded in a one-hour demonstration in Aybak city, provincial governor Khairullah Anosh told the  AFP, news agency.

There have so far been no reports of unrest elsehwere in the nation.

Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, ISAF spokesperson, said the response to the protests was managed by "a police force that showed extreme skill and capability this week".

Al Jazeera and agencies
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