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Originally published Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 5:23 AM

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NATO: 2 Afghan civilians killed in violence

A pair of insurgent attacks on Thursday killed two Afghan civilians, including a child, in part of the persistent violence across the country despite crackdowns on insurgent leaders, officials said.

The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan —

A pair of insurgent attacks on Thursday killed two Afghan civilians, including a child, in part of the persistent violence across the country despite crackdowns on insurgent leaders, officials said.

The child was killed by a bomb outside a music cassette shop in a marketplace in Jalalabad, some 80 miles (125 kilometers) east of Kabul, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for Nangarhar province. NATO said three other civilians were wounded in the blast.

In the south, NATO said insurgents opened fire on civilians in the Washer district of Helmand province, killing one and wounding three more. The wounded were evacuated to a coalition medical facility.

Separately, NATO reported that Afghan and coalition forces on Wednesday detained a Taliban operator in Behsud district of the same province, one of scores of insurgents who have been captured or killed in recent months in southern and eastern Afghanistan, especially along the Pakistan border.

The coalition said the Taliban operator coordinated the movement of foreign fighters into eastern Kunar province from neighboring Pakistan and was responsible for conducting attacks against government and coalition forces.

In the Afghan capital, a few hundred protesters marched to the Iranian Embassy to demonstrate against the hanging of Afghans in Iran.

Afghan lawmakers have claimed that as many as 45 Afghans had been executed in Iran, but the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that number is exaggerated. The ministry, which has raised the issue with Iranian officials in Tehran, has confirmed the execution of six Afghans in Iran but has not provided details about why they were killed.

The protesters carried large photographs of Iranian officials, their faces crossed out with red Xs.

"The Iranian regime has been doing very brutal acts against Afghan people," said Razia, a female protester who uses only one name. "These were all people who were not criminals or traitors. They went to Iran to find work, but they have been killed in a very brutal way."

Last week, a couple hundred Afghans also demonstrated outside the Iranian Embassy to protest Iran's blocking of fuel trucks at the border, which caused domestic fuel prices to rise as much as 70 percent. Afghanistan has no refineries of its own and relies entirely on imported fuel. Iran supplies about 30 percent of the country's refined fuel with the remainder coming from Iraq and Turkmenistan.

Farid Shirzai, head of the Afghan Commerce Ministry's fuel department, said Thursday that Iran currently was allowing 1,000 tons of fuel to enter Afghanistan at three border crossings each day, compared with 3,000 to 4,000 tons daily before the trucks were blocked.

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