Taliban Supporters Stage Violent Protests in Pakistan

As much of the world offered support for U.S. strikes against Afghanistan, Pakistan lost one person in violent, passionate protests.

In demonstrations that seemed to contradict the Pakistani president's claim that his support of the strikes reflected the will of his people, Taliban backers burned buildings, threw stones and fought police, calling for a holy war against the United States.

One person was reported killed and more than two dozen hurt in raucous demonstrations in the southwest city of Quetta. Authorities uncorked tear gas and fired live ammunition into the air to repel 4,000 agitated demonstrators who torched five movie theaters, damaged a bank and burned the police station.

Mobs stoned the Quetta office of the U.N. refugee agency and torched the U.N. children's agency office in the same compound.

Stone-throwing protests also erupted in another pro-Taliban town called Peshawar, where several thousand demonstrators hurled stones, drawing volleys of tear gas from police. In northwestern Peshawar, both tear gas and steel-tipped sticks were used to scatter 2,000 Taliban supporters as they emerged from a mosque and began to protest.

Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, also saw protesters, as a mob of 400 students set three buses on fire and threw stones at authorities. At least eight people were reported injured when the police charged the mob with batons and tear gas.

Police opened fire on several hundred demonstrators in the border town of Landikotal when they tried to stage a pro-Taliban rally. Four people were reported injured, but the extent of — and reason for — their injuries were unclear.

However, not all demonstrations Monday were violent. In the frontier town of Chaman, nearly 6,000 people — both Pakistanis and Afghans from across the border —  demonstrated peacefully by sitting cross-legged on a major road, shutting it down and burning a straw effigy of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf fully supports the U.S. campaign to apprehend bin Laden.

Reactions Outside Pakistan

Anger also spread outside of Pakistan. Two Palestinians were shot dead and 45 were injured in the Gaza Strip during clashes with police after a protest march against the strikes while Palestinian leadership rushed to distance itself from bin Laden

Arabs in other Middle Eastern states were also upset with the decision to bomb sites in Afghanistan.

"America is acting against Usama bin Laden without showing us proof while the evidence of what Israel is doing to the Palestinians is there for all to see on television," said Mohammed Kheir, a Syrian government employee.

"They say their target is bin Laden and they strike at innocent people in Afghanistan who have nothing to do with terrorism," said Samar al-Naji, a bank clerk in Amman, Jordan.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld denied any reports of civilian targets and casualties.

Saudi Arabia's government, which supported U.S.-led forces during the Persian Gulf War, remained silent. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein called the operations "an act of aggression that runs contrary to international law."

Iran's foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, expressed concern that the military operation "will not eliminate terrorism, but, on the contrary, could expand (it) further."

However, reaction in Europe was supportive.

"There is no lack of enthusiasm for this campaign," NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson said.

Foreign ministers from the European Union also issued a statement supporting the action, saying that bin Laden, his Al Qaeda movement and the Taliban regime "are now facing the consequences of their action."

French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said the military action was "inevitable and necessary" after the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden. "It's not just solidarity," he told RTL radio. "It must be our action also."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he believed Washington was doing everything it could "so that the population of Afghanistan does not suffer."

"Such a colossal loss cannot pass unnoticed or go without an adequate response," Putin said.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad criticized the strikes and called for a world summit on terrorism.

China and India backed the U.S.-led battle against terrorism while urging the attacking forces to avoid hurting innocent civilians. So did Indonesia, except for the hundreds of Islamic militants who protested outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.