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Afghans killed in anti-U.S. riots

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Protests erupt over report of Quran desecration.
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Cuba)

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At least four people have been killed and 70 injured in violent protests in Jalalabad over reports U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base desecrated copies of the Quran during questioning of prisoners held there.

The trouble started as thousands of demonstrators marched Wednesday through the streets of Jalalabad, in the eastern part of the country, officials and eyewitnesses said.

Afghan's interior ministry reported police fired at the crowds when they began to attack government buildings.

A witness told CNN that police as well as U.S. troops fired into the air to keep the crowds under control.

Thirteen people were arrested, the interior ministry said.

A group of protesters attacked the governor's house and the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad, according to a Pakistani foreign ministry official, but no one was injured.

An Afghan official in Jalalabad said the crowd also attacked U.S. Army vehicles, and U.S. soldiers fired into the air before leaving the area.

Rallies were also held in several cities in neighboring Pakistan, where the religious party alliance MMA announced plans to mount a countrywide protest against the United States Friday.

The country's national assembly passed a resolution demanding the U.S. government investigate the incident and punish anyone found to be responsible.

The U.S. State Department announced Tuesday the Pentagon would investigate the allegations, which were first reported in Newsweek magazine.

The magazine quoted sources as saying investigators looking into abuses at the military prison in Cuba found interrogators "had placed Qurans on toilets, and in at least one case flushed a holy book down the toilet."

The State Department said Pakistan, a key Muslim ally in the war against terrorism, "expressed its serious concern to senior officials" at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

"The alleged desecration, if it occurred, would be deplorable and completely out of keeping with our deeply held values of religious freedom and tolerance," the State Department said in a written answer to a question posed at Tuesday's press briefing.

"Desecration of the Holy Quran is a reprehensible act that would not be sanctioned by the United States for any purpose."

A statement issued by the Pakistani foreign ministry Tuesday said: "U.S. officials have stated that the alleged perpetrators of the reported desecration would be held accountable after the matter had been appropriately investigated and responsibility is established."

CNN State Department Producer Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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