Muslims consider the burning of the koran and any other desecration of the koran to be a sin of death. International security force isaf acknowledged that soldiers at bagram had "inappropriately disposed" of muslim scriptures such as the koran. Isaf commander john allen apologized and stressed that the soldiers had not acted premeditatively.
U.S. Defense secretary leon panetta spoke of a "most regrettable incident" that he strongly condemned. "These actions do not reflect the views of the u.S. Military. We honor and respect the religious practices of the afghan people without exception." Panetta promised a determined investigation together with the afghan government.
Parwan provincial government spokeswoman roshana chalid said afghans working at the u.S. Base in bagram had brought burned copies of the koran from there.
Several demonstrators were injured during protests in bagram, according to afghan reports. Parwan’s deputy police chief sia ul rahman said U.S. Soldiers had lightly wounded 13 people with rubber bullets. No one has been killed. Police have the situation under control, he said.
A participant in the protests named sami ullah said a demonstrator was shot by soldiers. According to isaf, "non-lethal ammunition" was used to disperse the crowd. U.S. Embassy in kabul warned of demonstrations in coming days as well.
Isaf commander allen said the protection force will ensure that such an event does not happen again. "The seized material will be properly handled by the appropriate religious authorities." The isaf did not specify why religious scriptures such as the koran were stored at the base. However, u.S. Troops maintain a controversial prison in bagram. Haftlingen is made available there the koran.
Last spring, 23 people were killed in afghanistan during days of protests against the burning of the koran by a preacher in florida, including seven foreign UN employees. In 2005, a later retracted media report about an alleged desecration of the koran in the u.S. Prison camp guantanamo had triggered severe anti-american protests. A total of 17 people died in riots in afghanistan and pakistan.
Meanwhile, an albanian was killed in a clash between isaf soldiers and afghan police officers in the sudafghan province of kandahar. The office of the provincial governor announced on tuesday that a verbal altercation and then shots were fired during the distribution of writing materials at a school the night before. One albanian soldier was killed, two others were injured. A U.S. Soldier was also wounded. The police officers involved have been arrested.
The isaf said only that an attacker in a police uniform had shot and killed an isaf soldier. Attacks by afghan security forces on isaf members have piled up in recent months. It often remains unclear whether the assassins are so-called sleepers from insurgent groups such as the taliban or whether there are other motives behind the attacks.
A month ago, an afghan soldier shot and killed four french soldiers. President nicolas sarkozy threatened to withdraw troops from the hindu kush prematurely.
In the sudafghan province of helmand, taliban fighters beheaded four civilians, according to authorities. The insurgents had falsely accused the victims of spying for the government and international forces, according to helmand’s provincial government.