Persecution of Non-Muslims (Afghanistan)

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Note that the persecution of apostates and the persecution of homosexuals are covered in separate pages

2 American, 2 Australian, 4 German, and more than 51 Afghan aid workers detained for months by religious police for "promoting Christianity", face either life imprisonment or death by hanging

The Taliban's religious police arrested twenty-four aid workers (eight foreigners and sixteen Afghan nationals) from Shelter Now International (SNI), a charity based in Germany, for allegedly propagating Christianity in early August.

So far, the trial of the eight foreigners, which started a fortnight ago on Tuesday September 4, has been conducted in the absence of a defense advocate. If convicted, these foreigners could face penalties ranging from expulsion to death.

Another 35 Afghan aid workers were arrested by the Taliban between September 7-9 as the crackdown on international aid agencies continued.

All the Afghans aid workers were employees of the recently banned International Assistance Mission (IAM). According to Associated Press, they were taken into custody at the Planning Ministry in response to a state-run radio broadcast asking them to collect their salary.

The Taliban accused IAM and another Christian agency, SERVE, of links with Shelter Now International (SNI). SNI was shut down in early August on suspicion of trying to convert Muslim Afghans to Christianity.

More than 51 Afghan nationals have so far been arrested in connection with the SNI crackdown.

The Taliban has not presented proof that any Afghan had actually converted but Mohammed Wali, the Taliban Minister for Vice and Virtue, insisted on charging them on the basis that 'they must have known what these foreigners were doing, and they did not report them'.

The Taliban said the Afghans would be tried separately, although no date has been set. Access to the Afghans have so far been refused and the Taliban has declared that some of them would be sentenced to either life imprisonment or death by hanging.
Afghanistan: Detained Aid Workers Desperately Need Our Prayers!
Christian Solidarity Worldwide, September 19, 2001

Reports of beatings and police raids on the homes of Christians following release of Abdul Rahman due to Western pressure. Protesters chant, “Death to Christians” among the anti-Bush and anti-American slogans

US-based Christian news source, Compass Direct, reports that more Christians have been arrested for their faith in Afghanistan in the wake of the release of Abdul Rahman. Compass, a news service that tracks persecution of Christians mostly in Islamic countries, says harassment of the Christian community has been stepped up.
. . .

Reports of beatings and police raids on the homes of Christians are filtering out of the country through local Christian ministers.
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The threat of death hangs over the heads of all Afghan Christians, of whom US-based groups say there may be as many as 10,000, meeting secretly in houses for prayer and bible study, and living in fear of their lives. Under Afghanistan’s strict Islamic law conversion to another religion is a capital offense and Muslim leaders have been calling for Rahman’s execution and threatening to kill him.

Rahman is in hiding and is thought to be under the protection of the UN through whom he has requested asylum outside Afghanistan. An offer has already been made by the Italian government. Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini, announced yesterday that he would ask the Council of Ministers to “grant Rahman hospitality in Italy.”

Italy has close ties with Afghanistan; the Afghan royal family lived in exile in Rome for 30 years, returning to Afghanistan only after the fall of the Taliban regime.

When the announcement of Rahman’s release was made public, demonstrations broke out in which protesters chanted, “Death to Christians” among the anti-Bush and anti-American slogans.
More Christians Arrested in Afghanistan
Hilary White, LifeSiteNews, March 28, 2006

South-African women working for a UK-registered charity shot dead in front of school children, because "she was working for an organisation which was preaching Christianity in Afghanistan". 29 aid workers killed this year

A woman working for a UK-registered charity has been shot dead near Kabul University in the Afghan capital.

Gayle Williams, 34, was a UK and South African national. She was killed by two men on a motorbike, witnesses told the BBC.

The Taleban are reported to have said they killed her because she was working for a Christian organisation called Serve Afghanistan.

In August the Taleban killed three foreign women near Kabul.

Ms Williams was killed while walking to work, police said.

An eyewitness told the BBC that two men on a motorbike drew alongside her. One man then got off the motorbike and shot her six times at close range before jumping back on the bike and escaping.

Children on the street going to school also saw the incident.

"Some bullets hit her body and some hit her leg and when police got there she was dead," interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary told the AFP news agency.
. . .
Serve Afghanistan is a UK registered charity whose overseas staff are volunteers. It focuses on education and training for people with disabilities.

The charity's chairman, Mike Lyth, said the staff and volunteers were in shock over the killing.

He said: "She had been there for about two-and-a-half-years and was managing a community development project focused on disabled people.

"We are deeply saddened about what has happened. She was absolutely lovely and was full of life. A sportswoman and mountaineer - she just loved that sort of thing.
. . .
Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP that they killed Ms Williams "because she was working for an organisation which was preaching Christianity in Afghanistan".
. . .
"She was walking to the office. She had to pick up some papers because she had to give training to the Afghan staff about how to work with people with disabilities."
. . .
The secretary of state for international development, Douglas Alexander, called the killing a "callous and cowardly act".

He said: "To present her killing as a religious act is as despicable as it is absurd - it was cold blooded murder."

Ms Williams leaves behind her mother in the UK and a sister in South Africa.

This year 29 aid workers have been killed in Afghanistan; five of whom were international staff.

In August another aid group, the International Rescue Committee, suspended operations after three of its foreign female staff - a British-Canadian, a Canadian and a Trinidadian-American - were shot with their Afghan driver close to Kabul.
UK charity worker killed in Kabul
BBC News, October 20, 2008

American service member seriously wounded after being shot by an Afghan police officer for drinking water during Ramadan

In Kabul, the capital, an American service member and an Afghan police officer got into an argument because the American was drinking water in front of the Afghan police, who are not eating or drinking during the day because of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, said the district chief, Abdul Baqi Zemari.

The police officer shot the American and seriously wounded him, while other American troops responded and seriously wounded the police officer, Zemari said.

Lt. Robert Carr, a U.S. military spokesman, confirmed an incident between Afghan police officers and a U.S. police mentoring team. He could not provide information on the conditions of the two men.
American shot over drink of water
MSNBC, September 12, 2009

Literally the last Jew in Afghanistan, having survived numerous beatings under the Taliban, now only wears his yarmulke, or skullcap, in private

Zebulon Simentov lives, eats and prays alone as he is the last known Jew in a country dominated by conservative Muslim culture.

Mr Simentov is the caretaker and sole member of Afghanistan's only working synagogue. The last eight or nine Jewish families left after the 1979 Soviet invasion, he said.

Fond of whisky and aged about 50, Mr Simentov lives in the dilapidated two-story synagogue in Kabul and gets by on donations from Jews abroad and sympathetic local Muslims.

In the late 19th century, Afghanistan's Jews numbered about 40,000, many of them Persian Jews who had fled forced conversion in neighboring Iran.

Beginning with an exodus to Israel after it became a state in 1948, the community has been in decline ever since.

Mr Simentov's wife and children moved to Israel years ago, but he stayed even through the Taliban regime.

He was born in the western Afghan city of Herat in 1959 and says Afghanistan is home.

But having survived numerous beatings under the Taliban, he now only wears his yarmulke, or skullcap, in private.
. . .

Though Mr Simentov has a Muslim friend who visits a few times a week, he spends most of his days in the company of his pet partridge, reading a Hebrew prayer book and watching Afghan TV in a small room whose pink walls are adorned with an Afghan flag and the picture of an orthodox rabbi.

Suicide bomber attacks the Indian embassy in Kabul, killing at least 17 people and wounding a further 63 in the second attack on the building in little over a year (2008 bombing left more than 50 dead)

A Taliban suicide bomber has attacked the Indian embassy in Kabul, killing at least 17 people in a second attack on the building in little over a year.

Afghan officials say a car bomber blew himself up near the Indian embassy and the Afghan interior ministry.

The Taliban said it carried out the attack and the embassy was the target.

Kabul has been attacked regularly in recent months, and the Indian embassy was itself bombed in July 2008, with dozens of people killed.

Most strikes in the capital target foreign forces or government offices - but civilians are also often killed.

More recently, six Italian soldiers were killed last month in a bomb attack on a military convoy.

The latest blast hit at 0827 local time (0353 GMT), as residents were arriving to work.

India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said the suicide bomber "came up to the outside wall of the embassy with a car loaded with explosives".

Television pictures showed charred vehicles at the site and ambulances speeding to the location.

An eyewitness, Habib Jan, told the BBC the victims were civilians.

"A [Toyota] Corolla car was parked in front of the Indian embassy. It was rush hour, about 10 minutes after I arrived at the office when we heard an explosion.

"There were lots of workers cleaning the street - most of them have been killed."

Nirupama Rao told reporters that she believed the suicide bomb was directed against the Indian embassy.

In July 2008 a suicide bomber rammed a car full of explosives into the gates of the embassy, killing dozens of people and injuring more than 140.

India has a strong relationship with Afghanistan, building and managing infrastructure projects in what analysts say is a concerted effort to minimise Pakistani influence in the country.

Analysts say the strength of India's relationship with Kabul has made it a key target for the country's Taliban militants, who have historic links with Pakistan.

Afghan officials linked last year's bombing to an "active intelligence service" - thought to be Pakistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in an online statement that Thursday's attacker was an Afghan man who blew up his vehicle outside the embassy.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said 17 people had died and 63 had been wounded in the latest attack. Fifteen of the dead were Afghan civilians and one was an Afghan police officer.
Afghan bomb strikes India embassy
BBC News, October 8, 2009

"We want those who have converted from Islam to be punished", Pope burned in effigy during an anti-Christianity protest attended by over 1,000 Muslims (mostly college students), third protest in just over a week

Over a thousand protesters turned out onto the streets of Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, to demonstrate against foreign NGOs (non-governmental organisations) which were being investigated for spreading Christianity in the country.

This is the third mass protest in just over a week since Afghan authorities suspended two Christian aid groups, the US-based Church World Service and Norwegian Church Aid, on suspicion of proselytising in the strictly Islamic nation.

During their hour-long march, demonstrators shouted slogans such as "Death to America! Long live Islam!" and carried banners and placards protesting against the foreign presence in the country.

The protesters, who were mostly college students, also burned a stuffed figure in western dress, reportedly an effigy of the Pope.

An estimated 200 police were on duty at the protest, which ended peacefully.

"We want those who have converted from Islam to be punished. We also want the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to ban all the churches that have been established and any organisation spreading Christianity here," said one protester, Zabiullah Khan.

An investigation commission, including officers from the National Security and Interior Ministries, has been appointed to investigate the activities of the suspended NGOs, according to Mohammad Hashim Mayar, who is deputy director of the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR).

"We are waiting for the results, impatiently, because if we do not know the final result, you know, the situation will get worse, and the security of the expatriate and national workers of the NGOs will be endangered, and also ... it will affect the activities of the NGOs," said Mayar.

Government officials said a follow-up investigation would aim to establish whether other groups were trying to convert Muslims.

Last week two similar protests broke out in the capital Kabul and the Western city of Herat.

Hundreds of students shouted death threats towards foreigners seeking to convert Muslims and burned a Norwegian flag.

The suspended NGOs have denied allegations.

Norwegian Church Aid Secretary-General Atle Sommerfeldt said in a statement that his organisation has a firm policy of not attempting "to convert people to another religion" in all countries where it operates.

Maurice Bloem, deputy director of programs for Church World Service, said in a statement his organisation does not proselytise, in accordance with the code of conduct for NGOs.

Proselytising is illegal in Afghanistan, as is the case in many Muslim countries.

6 Americans, 1 Briton, 1 German, and 2 Afghan Christian medical workers gunned down for "proselytizing Christianity"

Gunmen killed 10 medical workers, including eight foreigners, in Afghanistan's remote northeast, police and officials said on Saturday, and the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

A Christian aid group said those killed matched descriptions of members of one of its mobile eye clinics who had been traveling in northeastern Nuristan province and were heading back to Kabul after providing medical care for local Afghans.

Dirk Frans, executive director of the International Assistance Mission (IAM), said the group had been told the bodies of eight foreigners -- five men and three women -- and two Afghans had been recovered.

The 12-member team had consisted of six U.S. nationals, one British citizen, a German and four Afghans. Two Afghan staff members had escaped alive, Frans told Reuters. IAM had last had contact with the team's leader on Wednesday.

Aqa Noor Kentuz, the police chief for Badakshan province, said the "bullet-riddled" bodies were found early on Saturday.

He said they had been camping near dense forest on a tour of Nuristan and neighboring Badakshan when they were attacked. Travel documents were found near their bodies, he said.

"Before their travel we warned them not to tour near jungles in Nuristan but they said they were doctors and no one was going to hurt them," Kentuz said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killings and accused the medical workers of proselytizing Christianity.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters from an undisclosed location that the group had been found with bibles translated into Dari, one of Afghanistan's two main languages.

There was no independent confirmation of any Taliban role, or that the medical workers had bibles.

Nuristan is a remote region with a growing insurgent presence as well as smugglers and bandits. U.S. forces withdrew from the province in the past year after taking heavy losses in years of battle near its Pakistan border.

One of those killed was British surgeon Karen Woo, who worked with a separate group called Bridge Afghanistan.

"We have just heard the terrible news from Afghanistan," the group said on its website, "Unfortunately Karen was part of the group that were killed whilst delivering aid and medical care in Nuristan ..."

In a post on the website she had described plans for the three week trek with the IAM team.


"I will act as the team doctor and run the mother-and-child clinics once inside Nuristan. The expedition team also includes an eye doctor and a dental surgeon," she wrote. "The communities who live in these remote areas get no medical care at all, so we are hoping to be able to make a really big difference to the lives and livelihoods of the people that we meet there."

The German government confirmed that a German woman was among the dead. Germany was "outraged at the appalling attack," government spokeswoman Sabine Heimbach said in a statement.

The U.S. embassy said it had reason to believe several Americans were among those killed, but gave no further details.
Eight foreign medical workers killed in Afghanistan
Hamid Shalizi and Yousuf Azimi, Reuters, August 7, 2010

Following Friday prayers, 20,000 Muslims protesting the Florida "Qur'an burning" shoot, stab and behead several UN workers from Nepal, Norway, Romania and Sweden. At least 12 people killed and UN compound burned

Stirred up by three angry mullahs who urged them to avenge the burning of a Koran at a Florida church, thousands of protesters on Friday overran the compound of the United Nations in this northern Afghan city, killing at least 12 people, Afghan and United Nations officials said.

The dead included at least seven United Nations workers — four Nepalese guards and three Europeans from Romania, Sweden and Norway — according to United Nations officials in New York. One was a woman. Early reports, later denied by Afghan officials, said that at least two of the dead had been beheaded. Five Afghans were also killed.

The attack was the deadliest for the United Nations in Afghanistan since 11 people were killed in 2009, when Taliban suicide bombers invaded a guesthouse in Kabul. It also underscored the latent hostility toward the nine-year foreign presence here, even in a city long considered to be among the safest in Afghanistan — so safe that American troops no longer patrol here in any numbers.

Unable to find Americans on whom to vent their anger, the mob turned instead on the next-best symbol of Western intrusion — the nearby United Nations headquarters. “Some of our colleagues were just hunted down,” said a spokesman for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Kieran Dwyer, in confirming the attack.

In Washington, President Obama issued a statement strongly condemning the violence against United Nations workers. “Their work is essential to building a stronger Afghanistan for the benefit of all its citizens,” he said. “We stress the importance of calm and urge all parties to reject violence.” The statement made no reference to the Florida church or the Koran burning.

Afghanistan, deeply religious and reflexively volatile, has long been highly reactive to perceived insults against Islam. When a Danish cartoonist lampooned the Prophet Muhammad, four people were killed in riots in Afghanistan within days in 2006. The year before, a one-paragraph item in Newsweek alleging that guards at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had flushed a Koran down the toilet set off three days of riots that left 14 people dead in Afghanistan.

Friday’s episode began when three mullahs, addressing worshipers at Friday Prayer inside the Blue Mosque here, one of Afghanistan’s holiest places, urged people to take to the streets to agitate for the arrest of Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who oversaw the burning of a Koran on March 20.

Otherwise, said the most prominent of them, Mullah Mohammed Shah Adeli, Afghanistan should cut off relations with the United States. “Burning the Koran is an insult to Islam, and those who committed it should be punished,” he said.

The crowd — some of its members carrying signs reading “Down with America” and “Death to Obama” — poured into the streets and swelled. Gov. Atta Muhammad Noor of Balkh Province, of which Mazar-i-Sharif is the capital, later put the number at 20,000. According to Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, spokesman for Gen. Daoud Daoud, the Afghan National Police commander for the country’s north, the crowd soon overwhelmed the United Nations guards, disarming some and beating and shooting others.

Gen. Abdul Rauf Taj, the deputy police commander for Balkh Province, put the death toll at eight foreign United Nations staff members, but he said there had not been any beheadings. “Police tried to stop them, but protesters began stoning the building, and finally the situation got out of control,” he said.

Mr. Ahmadzai, however, put the death toll at 10 foreigners in the United Nations compound, 8 killed by gunshots and 2 beheaded.

Mr. Dwyer confirmed that some United Nations staff members had been killed, but he declined to provide a number or the nationalities of the victims until next of kin had been notified.

Mirwais Rabi, director of the public health hospital in Mazar-i-Sharif, said 20 wounded and 5 dead Afghan civilians were brought to the hospital.

The mob also burned down part of the United Nations compound, toppled guard towers and heaved blocks of cement down from the walls. The victims were killed by weapons the demonstrators had wrestled away from the United Nations guards, Mr. Noor said. He listed the dead as five Nepalese guards and two Europeans, a breakdown that varied from the one issued later by Farhan Haq, the deputy United Nations spokesman in New York.
Afghans Avenge Florida Koran Burning, Killing 12
Enayat Najafizada and Rod Nordland, The New York Times, April 1, 2011

At least 9 people killed and over 70 others injured as thousands of Muslims stage another protest against the Florida "Qur'an burning", setting fire to public and private properties including shops, vehicles, and a girls school

At least nine people were killed and over 70 others injured as thousands of people staged a protest demonstration in Kandahar city Saturday to condemn the reported burning of Muslim holy book Quran in the United States recently, a statement released by Kandahar's provincial administration said.

"In today's demonstration which turned to violence nine people were killed and 73 others sustained injuries," the statement asserted.

The victims, according to doctors in local hospitals, had been hit by stone or suffered bullet injuries, as protestors hurled stone towards police and police opened fire to disperse the mob.

It also blamed the vested interests group, who set on fire public and private properties including shops and vehicles and turned the procession into violence.

Several classrooms of a girl school were also set ablaze by the vested interests group during the demonstration, the statement said.

A priest of a Church in Florida of America, according to media reports, burned Muslim holy book Quran recently and the act has drawn condemnation.

Personnel of law enforcing agencies have arrested 16 people from among the demonstrators seven of them armed with weapons, the statement of Kandahar's provincial administration asserted.

Similar demonstration also broke out in the Taliqan city, the capital of northeast Takhar province on Saturday and the demonstrators after condemning the reported burning of Quran dispersed peacefully.

Such demonstrations in the capital city Kabul and western city Herat have happened and the demonstrators condemned burning Quran by U.S. priest.

Thousands of protestors in a similar demonstration held in Afghanistan's northern Mazar-e-Sharif city on Friday went violence and stormed UN compound, during which 11 people had been killed 23 others were injured.
9 killed, 73 injured in Quran burning protest in south Afghan city
Abdul Haleem and Zhang Jianhua, Xinhua, April 2, 2011

Afghan guns down 3 of his mentors because "he was a Muslim and did not accept foreigners working alongside him". In 5 months, Afghan soldiers shoot 14 Australians, 4 die while others suffer serious wounds

THE Afghan soldier who gunned down three Australian soldiers last year has gloated about his attack and told how his unit comrades fantasised about similar jihad operations.
. . .

A manhunt has been under way for Rozi, an Afghan National Army member, since he vanished after opening fire on his Australian mentors on November 8, seriously injuring three.
. . .
In five months last year, Afghan soldiers shot 14 Australians, four of whom died while others suffered serious wounds.

On December 10 last year, The Saturday Age reported on Rozi's attack and a second attack on Diggers by another Afghan soldier, Darwish Alokozai. The report said Alokozai, who killed three Australian soldiers and one Afghan and wounded six other troops before he was shot and killed, may have been brainwashed while in Pakistan.
. . .
"I had one mission on my mind, to kill foreigners and teach them a lesson. We are Muslims, we cannot accept foreigners," he says. "I prepared the grenade-launcher and my gun with 200 bullets. Foreigners [Australians] were sitting in a room. They were fire worshippers around a big fire. There were 12 of them.

"A soldier ran to me and asked me what I was doing. He suspected my motives. I told him that it was none of his business.

"I opened fire . . . when the bullets ran out it was time to use the rocket launcher."

The account appears heavily embellished, with Rozi claiming he killed 12 Australians.

Despite its blatant propaganda, the video has some telling insights into the attitudes of Afghan soldiers in the lower ranks and their impression of their foreign counterparts.

Rozi says he had spent years in a religious school before joining the Afghan army, where he found other soldiers did not accept foreigners.

He decided to attack the Australians because he was a Muslim and did not accept foreigners working alongside him.

He says friends in the army regularly discussed possible attacks.

On one occasion, "for 24 hours we were discussing, and our first discussion point was jihad and killing".
. . .
After fleeing the camp in a stolen Humvee, Rozi says he drove until the vehicle became hot and he saw six people walking back after prayers.

They welcomed him, saying "this is an Islamic country and the Muslims will protect you".
. . .
Rozi is asked what message he wants to pass on to his fellow soldiers.

He replies: "My message is that they are Muslims, the sons of Muslims and the father of Muslims and their grandfathers are Muslims and they should never accept the foreigners."

He adds that foreign troops came "to destroy our religion and to root out our religion and destroy other things".

He says his future program is "jihad".
Afghan rogue's rant: Why I shot Diggers
Rory Callinan, The Age‎, February 11, 2012

Muslims armed with stones and molotov cocktails attack a Kabul compound housing foreign workers, attack shops and smash cars in a second day of violence over the burning of Qur'ans already defaced by Muslim terrorists

Afghan protesters armed with stones and molotov cocktails have attacked a military base and a compound housing foreign workers in Kabul, in a second day of violence over the burning of copies of the Qur'an by foreign forces.

At least 16 demonstrators and one police officer were injured as enraged crowds took to the streets in central and eastern Afghanistan, shouting "Death to America" and "Death to Obama".

Police in Kabul used water cannon and fired guns into the air to deter the demonstrators, who were attacking shops and smashing car windows. Security guards in the compound that came under attack also opened fire with automatic rifles.

A military base was attacked on the outskirts of the capital.

Eleven men were treated for gunshot wounds in Kabul, said Kabir Amiri, spokesman for the city's hospitals. Another five people were injured in eastern Jalalabad, said Ahmad Zia Ahmadzai, spokesman for the provincial governor.
. . .
A military official, who asked not to be named, said the books had been removed from the jail library because some had added inscriptions that appeared to be in use to "facilitate extremist communications" or were extremist "in and of themselves".
. . .
"When the Americans insult us to this degree, we will join the insurgents," said Ajmal, an 18-year-old protester in Kabul told Reuters.
. . .
The US embassy ordered all staff to stay inside their compound, and the UN and many other embassies and foreign aid groups halted movements across Kabul.

"The embassy is on lockdown; all travel suspended. Please, everyone, be safe out there," the embassy's official Twitter feed said.
Qur'an protesters attack Kabul compound housing foreigners
Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian, February 22, 2012

Two young American troops killed by an ally, a Muslim wearing an Afghan National Army uniform, who was part of the "Qur'an burning" protest outside the base

Afghan rage over the burning of Qurans by NATO troops continued Thursday even after a President Barack Obama apologized for the "error."

Afghanistan erupted in violent demonstrations after the troops burned the Islamic religious material at the beginning of the week.

Two American troops were killed Thursday by a man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform, a U.S. official said, asking not to be named discussing casualties. The gunman is thought to have been acting in conjunction with a protest outside the base, the official said.
. . .

Obama's apology brought this rejoinder from GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: "The president apologized for the burning, but I haven't seen the president demand that the government of Afghanistan apologize for the killing of two young Americans."
Obama apologizes to Afghanistan for Quran burning
Masoud Popalzai and Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, February 23, 2012

UN compound comes under attack by thousands of protesting Muslims, and two more innocent Americans shot dead by Afghan police in retaliation for Qur'an burning. Death toll rises to 30 as anti-US protests rage for a fifth day

NATO has pulled all of its staff out of Afghan government ministries after two US military advisors were shot dead in the interior ministry, as anti-US protests raged for a fifth day.
. . .

In a day of violence across the country, a UN compound came under attack by thousands of demonstrators in northeastern Kunduz province, but they were driven back when police fired into the crowd, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

Five people were reported killed in the attack, taking the five day death toll from protests over the burning of Korans at the US-run Bagram airbase to around 30.
. . .
The two American military advisors from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were in the interior ministry when "an individual" turned his weapon against them, NATO said, without giving further details.

A government source told AFP the two men were killed by a member of the Afghan police.
. . .
The latest deaths come hard on the heels of the killing of two American troops on Thursday when an Afghan soldier turned his weapon on them at their base in eastern Nangarhar province as demonstrators approached.

The Koran burning has inflamed anti-Western sentiment already smouldering in Afghanistan over abuses by US-led foreign troops, such as the release last month of a video showing US Marines urinating on the corpses of dead Afghans.

Four French soldiers were shot dead by an Afghan army colleague at their base in Kapisa province in late January shortly after that video was released.

Violent anti-US protests have seen furious Afghans attack French, Norwegian, UN and US bases, shouting "Death to America" after the Taliban exhorted their countrymen to kill foreign troops to avenge the Koran burning.

There were fresh protests in five different Afghan provinces Saturday over the burning of the Islamic holy book at the US airbase at Bagram near Kabul.

In the assault on the UN compound in Kunduz, five people were killed and 66 wounded, including 11 police, health ministry officials and police said.

Security guard opens fire on the Christian children's hospital he was supposed to be protecting, kills three American physicians, including a father and son who were visiting the Kabul facility

An Afghan security guard has opened fire on a group of foreign doctors at a Kabul hospital, killing three American physicians.

A US nurse was wounded in the attack, which took place at Cure International Hospital in the west of the Afghan capital.

Two of the three victims were a father and son who were visiting the facility; the third one was a doctor who had worked in Kabul for seven years, said Minister of Health Soraya Dalil.

A family member identified one of the victims as a paediatrician from Chicago who moved to Afghanistan in 2005.

Angie Schuitema told the AP news agency that her son-in-law Dr Jerry Umanos was among those killed in the shooting.

Dr Bruce Rowell, from Chicago's Lawndale Christian Health Center, where Dr Umanos worked for more than 25 years, said his former colleague was "for many of us on staff, the paediatrician for our very own children".

He added: "This loss is a great loss for his family, for those of us he worked with as well as for the people of Afghanistan. He was a loving and caring physician who served all of his patients with the utmost of respect."

The attacker was a member of the Afghan Public Protection Force assigned to guard the hospital, according to District Police Chief Hafiz Khan.

He said the man's motive was not yet clear.

The gunman, who was wounded, had surgery at the same hospital and was in recovery.

The man, who is kept under police custody, will be questioned later.

The 100-bed hospital specialises in children's and maternal care and is considered one of Afghanistan's leading hospitals. It is run by children's charity Cure International, based in Pennsylvania.

The group's chief financial officer Mark Knech told reporters outside its headquarters that the organisation "remains committed to serve the people of Afghanistan".

He also asked for prayers for "the families of the victims and those affected by the shooting, as well as the peace in Afghanistan".

The attack is the latest to target foreigners in the country.

Two Britons died in January when suicide attackers and gunmen killed a dozen people at a Kabul restaurant.

Nine people also died in March during an attack on an upmarket hotel restaurant in the city.

Earlier this month a man dressed as a policeman shot two Associated Press journalists, killing Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Anja Niedringhaus.