Thousands of demonstrators rallied across the country on Wednesday, some chanting “Death to America!” and demanding US and foreign military forces leave Afghanistan, Reuters witnesses and local officials said.
“Our brave people must target the military bases of invader forces, their military convoys and their invader bases,” read an e-mailed Taliban statement released by spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
“They have to kill them (Westerners), beat them and capture them to give them a lesson to never dare desecrate the holy Quran again.”
The US government and the American commander of Nato-led forces in Afghanistan apologised for “unintentional” burnings after Afghan labourers found charred copies of the Quran while collecting rubbish at the huge Bagram Airbase, about an hour’s drive north of Kabul.
The largest protests on Thursday were in eastern Laghman province, with others erupting in the eastern city of Jalalabad and in the capital Kabul.
Six people were killed and dozens wounded in demonstrations on Wednesday across the country, prompting President Hamid Karzai to urge calm.