US Army flight crew chief Sgt Wesley Price tends to a wounded Afghan man.

Kabul -

Three civilians and a policeman were killed on Friday after a demonstration in southern Afghanistan turned violent, police said.

“Around 500 to 1 000 civilians were demonstrating against police for taking the bodies of dead Taliban commanders from the Bakorzo area to Qalat city in Zabul province for further investigation,” said Mohammad Nabi Elham, police chief of Zabul.

A firefight broke out between police and armed individuals in the demonstration, resulting in the deaths, he said.

The demonstration near the provincial capital Qalat city lasted for around three hours before turning violent when armed men infiltrated the protest and started shooting at the police, Elham said.

Local Taliban leader Mullah Sharifullah and a few other insurgent commanders and fighters were killed this week in a coalition operation, he said.

“Local Afghans were trying to bury the bodies of the dead insurgents when the police interrupted the funeral ceremony to take the bodies to determine if the dead were indeed Taliban commanders,” Elham told the German Press Agency dpa.

He said five others including a police officer were injured. - Sapa-dpa