Afghans protest Holy Quran burning by NATO troops | Pakistan Today

Afghans protest Holy Quran burning by NATO troops

Protesters hurling petrol bombs and firing slingshots besieged the largest US-run military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday, furious over reports that NATO troops burned copies of the Holy Quran.
The enraged crowd shouted “Death to Americans” and “Death to infidels” as guards at Bagram airbase, north of Kabul, responded by firing rubber bullets from a watchtower, said an AFP photographer, who was hit in the neck.
Hundreds of other people protested in the Afghan capital as security forces dispatched reinforcements in a bid to stop the demonstrations from spiralling out of control in the fiercely conservative Islamic country. The US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, apologised and ordered an investigation into a report that troops “improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Qurans”. “I offer my sincere apologies for any offence this may have caused, to the president of Afghanistan, the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and most importantly, to the noble people of Afghanistan,” he said.
He did not mention how the religious materials had been disposed of, but an AFP photographer was shown partly-burnt copies of the Quran said to have been saved from destruction by Afghan workers within the base. Allen’s remarkably candid statement, apparently aimed at damage limitation after similar incidents led to violence and attacks on foreigners, was played repeatedly on Afghan television.
Allegations that NATO troops at Bagram had set fire to copies of the holy book were first reported by Afghans working at the base, a senior government official said.
A local police official said more than 2,000 people were demonstrating outside the sprawling US-run Bagram base at one stage. The AFP photographer saw at least seven protesters hit by rubber bullets, some of them bleeding.
Sediq Sediqqi, an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman, said Afghan security forces brought the demonstration under control and that by late afternoon it was over. He said one young protester had been wounded, but had no further details. Another protest by about 500 people that broke out in the Pul-e-charkhi district of Kabul not far from major NATO bases on the Jalalabad road, was also over, police spokesman Ashamat Estanakzai told AFP.
Last April, 10 people were killed and dozens of others were injured during days of unrest unleashed by the burning of a Holy Quran by American pastor Terry Jones in Florida.
Allen’s statement reflected concern over the impact of the latest incident in the country, where US troops have been fighting against a Taliban insurgency for more than 10 years and supporting President Hamid Karzai’s government.
“I have ordered an investigation into a report I received during the night that ISAF personnel at Bagram Airbase improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Qurans,” he said.
“When we learned of these actions, we immediately intervened and stopped them. The materials recovered will be properly handled by appropriate religious authorities. We are thoroughly investigating the incident and we are taking steps to ensure this does not ever happen again. I assure you — I promise you — this was NOT intentional in any way.”



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2 Comments

  1. NK Ali said:

    Guilty, sinful, irreverent and sacrilegious. This is totally condemnable and actionable.
    The Quran Kareem is the most popular and most widely read Book in the whole world. Every body knows about it because it has remained unchanged for 1,433 years and will remain unchanged till Eternity. Like the Torah, Psalms, Bible, the Quran has been given to humanity by Allah Allmighty through His Prophets (Peace be on all of them).
    So Americans, don’t act innocent as if you did not know and wake up. This is first class blasphemy. Salams to the world

  2. How myopic said:

    Modern science and even social denies looking into intention. How can he know what the intentions of his soldiers were, who on a continuous bases – according to their soldiers who left this sick job of killing innocent people in Iraq and AFG – urinate on their enemies and kills animals on roadside for fun.

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