JALALABAD, Afghanistan – Thousands of Afghan students chanted slogans and burned Danish and Dutch flags Sunday in the latest in a series of protests over perceived insults against Islam.
The protesters in the eastern city of Jalalabad denounced an upcoming Dutch film that reportedly criticizes Islam's holy book, the Koran. They also condemned Danish newspapers' recent republications of a cartoon that depicted the Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban.
The several thousand demonstrators shouted slogans against Denmark and the Netherlands. They also chanted "Death to America" and "Long live Al Qaeda."
"We don't want Dutch and Danish forces in Afghanistan. If our government does not kick them out, we will continue our demonstrations until they leave Afghanistan," said one protester, university student Qari Ibrahim. "If these forces do not leave, we are prepared to carry out suicide attacks against them."
Denmark has 780 troops in Afghanistan as part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force. The Netherlands has 1,650.
Similar protests have broken out in at least half a dozen other Afghan cities including the capital, Kabul, where 200 lawmakers shouted "Death to the enemies of Islam" outside the country's parliament Tuesday.
Last month Denmark's leading newspapers reprinted a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad after Danish police said they had uncovered a plot to kill the artist, whose drawing was one of 12 that triggered deadly riots across the Muslim world in 2006.
The reprinting triggered another wave of demonstrations in Islamic countries.
The protesters were also angry over right-wing Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders' upcoming short film, which reportedly portrays the Koran as fascist.
Afghanistan is a Muslim nation where criticizing the Prophet Muhammad or the Koran are crimes that are punishable by death. Islam generally opposes any physical depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.