Jordan has acquitted five students accused of desecrating the Qur'an. File photo: AFP

Kandahar, Afghanistan -

An unknown number of Afghan demonstrators were killed on Wednesday during a protest against the alleged burning of a Qur’an, police said.

“The Taliban encouraged the protesters, and their fighters were among them, firing towards police, who were at the scene,” said Nabi Elham, police chief for the southern province of Helmand.

Police did not return fire, he said.

Elham said the shooting killed some people and left others injured but refused to give more information.

Protesters said 15 people were killed and 21 injured, adding that it was not clear who shot them. The Taliban did not comment.

The protest took place after an Afghan policeman was arrested on suspicion of burning a Qur’an in the Musa Qala district. - Sapa-dpa