Tanks of the peacekeeping contingent have surrounded the city. The protesters gathered around the presidential palace. Crowds are chanting anti-American slogans, sacking police stations, burning cars and looting shops. Bursts of machine-gun fire are heard in the vicinity of the American embassy. The embassy staff have been evacuated to a safe place. Afghan president Hamid Karzai called on the people to stop the violence, and promised that the government would do all it can to protect life and property.
The rioting had broken out after an American "Hummer" military vehicle had rammed into several civilian cars killing, according to the US military, a man and injuring six more. But the police say three Afghans had been killed and 16 injured in the road accident.
An enraged crowd had started shouting anti-American slogans and throwing stones at US soldiers. In response, the soldiers had opened fire, which only aggravated the situation. The US military command says the fire had been over the people's heads. However, according to the chief of the Kabul police, at least one man had been killed.
Earlier the Afghans had repeatedly complained of the aggressive driving style of US troops who rode through Kabul's busy streets at high speed, grossly violating the traffic code. For its turn, the US military command in Afghanistan claims that such a manner of driving is necessary to protect the servicemen from gunmen's attacks.