Riots over US Koran 'desecration'
At least four people have been killed and many injured after police opened fire to break up an anti-US protest in eastern Afghanistan, officials say.
Hundreds of students rioted in the city of Jalalabad over reports that the Koran was desecrated at the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
President Hamid Karzai has said the violence showed the inability of Afghan authorities to handle such protests.
The US authorities have said they are investigating the allegations.
"Obviously the destruction of any kind of holy book... is something that is reprehensible and not in keeping with US policies and practices," state department spokesman Tom Casey said.
President Karzai, who is in Brussels, told Nato that his country would need international assistance "for many, many years to come".
Buildings burned down
Afghan National Army soldiers, supported by US units, are out on the streets of Jalalabad to try and control the situation.
Protests also spread to the south-eastern city of Khost, where hundreds of students took to the streets.
In Jalalabad, buildings belonging to the United Nations are reported to have been attacked and the offices of two international aid groups are said to have been destroyed.
Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan, Rustam Shah Mohmand, told the BBC the Pakistani consul's house had also been burned down and two cars torched.
One international aid worker in Jalalabad told the BBC that he could see smoke rising from points across the city.
He said there were groups of people running along the streets, reportedly looking for foreigners and anyone working for non-governmental organisations.
The BBC's Andrew North in Kabul says the violence comes after several months of mounting concern among foreign aid workers in Afghanistan over their security.
All UN and other foreign aid workers in the city have been told to move to safe areas.
The protesters chanted "Death to America" and smashed car windows and damaged shops.
"Police opened fire in the air to control the mob, and some people were injured," Jalalabad police chief, Abdul Rehman, told the AFP news agency.
Jalalabad is 130km (80 miles) east of the Afghan capital, Kabul, close to the Pakistani border.
Reports of abuse
The unrest follows a report in the American magazine, Newsweek, that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had placed copies of the Koran on toilets in order to put pressure on Muslim prisoners.
Former Guantanamo inmates told the BBC Urdu service earlier this month that some Arab prisoners had still not spoken to their interrogators after three years to protest at the desecration of the Koran by guards at the camp.
On Sunday, the Pakistani government said it was "deeply dismayed" over the reports about the Koran.
Islamist parties there have called for a nationwide strike on Friday.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are close allies of the US in its war against terror.
Insulting the Koran or Islam's Prophet Mohammed is regarded as blasphemy and punishable by death in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The US is holding about 520 inmates at Guantanamo Bay, many of them al-Qaeda and Taleban suspects captured in Pakistan and Afghanistan following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US and subsequent US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
Na twee weken van zware gevechten in zuidoost Afghanistan tussen Amerikaanse en Afghaanse troepen en de Taliban, breken er nu rellen uit in oost Afghanistan. Het zal niet lang duren voordat de NAVO troepen in Afghanistan ook onder vuur komen.