Not being in Ghor at the moment and only having had brief conversations with people who are, I don’t have much to add the news reports of what happened last week.
First, let us think of the US soldier who decided to use a Koran as target practice. Now hold your head in despair, take several deep breaths, and scream at the bastard callous moronic stupidity of some people and the institutions that continually let them make such… agghhh, I give up.
Why this event sparked off violent protests in Ghor of all places and not elsewhere I know not. It’s said some religious students organised the protests. That the crowd was shouting anti-US slogans at a base that is mostly manned by Lithuanians seems a bit odd, but symbolically understandable.
How the event got so out of hand that three people were killed and many more wounded is the key question, and one which I have no answer to and which I suspect anybody that does won’t be saying. Or will be saying different things.
That it was a new rotation of ISAF soldiers, only in place for a week, may not have helped. They could have bunkered down behind their fortress wall and weathered the storm, and I’m a bit surprised a Lithuanian soldier was ever in the firing line. The police would have been at the forefront, and may well have over-reacted. Or an ‘insurgent’ could have joined the crowd and fired a few shoots just to warm things up. Who knows? No point looking to blame any of them really.
What I do know is that the whole tragic thing is, well, tragic. Both the loss of life and the loss of trust between the PRT, the police and by extension the government, and the residents of Chagcharan. It’s a small event compared to many that happen everyday in Afghanistan, but it’s unusual for such things to happen in Ghor and it will be remembered for a long while with a great deal of bitter feeling on all sides.