Russia calls on Afghan government, coalition to protect U.N.

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 01, 2011 11:41 AM
Russia calls on Afghan government, coalition to protect U.N.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Ministry on Friday called on Afghanistan's government and international forces to protect United Nations workers after at least eight of them were killed in a Northern Afghan city.

"We call on the law enforcement bodies of Afghanistan and international forces... to take all necessary measures to prevent violence against the U.N. and its staff in Afghanistan," it said in a statement.

Two of the eight killed U.N. foreign workers were beheaded on Friday in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, a regional police spokesman said, after a demonstration against the burning of Korans by a U.S. preacher.

More than a thousand protesters had flooded into the streets of the normally peaceful city after Friday prayers, and a small group attacked the U.N. compound, throwing stones and climbing on blast barriers to try and enter.

A police source who spoke on condition of anonymity said protesters attacked the victims -- including Norwegian, Romanian and Swedish nationalities -- in the compound.

(Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman, editing by Lidia Kelly)