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28 people die in three explosions in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 28 people died in Afghanistan on Wednesday in three separate explosions of violence that illustrate the wide array of mayhem that racks this country and the anger that surrounds U.S. actions here.

The first four died during a disputed night raid by U.S.-led troops who stormed a house shortly after midnight in the city of Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province, in Afghanistan's northwest.

The next 11 died in the riot that followed when 2,000 demonstrators gathered to protest that those killed, including two women, had been civilians.

The last 13 died when a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into a bus that was carrying police academy trainers in the eastern province of Nangarhar, one of the most violent regions of the country.

The International Security Assistance Force, the U.S.-led coalition's formal name, said in a statement that the night raid had targeted a "facilitator" for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a militant group that was founded to overthrow the government of neighboring Uzbekistan but that's been fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan. Afghan government statements, however, suggested that the dead were civilians.

Abdul Jabar Taqwa, the provincial governor, while not identifying the dead, called the raid "a big mistake" in an interview with McClatchy Newspapers. He said the coalition hadn't coordinated the raid with local Afghan forces.

That controversy fueled what happened next, when an estimated 2,000 people marched on the local office of the coalition Provincial Reconstruction Team to protest the deaths. Such teams, usually staffed by Americans, coordinate coalition aid and other programs with local authorities.

Taqwa said the demonstration was peaceful at first, but that "Taliban insurgents and other intruders" turned it violent. They threw rocks and other debris at the PRT offices, followed by a grenade. Then armed members of the crowd opened fire, according to Taqwa's spokesman, Faiz Mohammad Tawhidi. Guards and security forces fired back.

The suicide bombing took place in Nangarhar province at around 5 p.m. Wednesday. In addition to the 13 killed, at least 20 people were wounded, according to Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the spokesman for the provincial governor.

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