Afghanistan revolts as news of Us led Nato soldiers burning Koran copies in a military base in Bagram province spread.
Kabul / NationalTurk – Nato troops at Bagram base had set fire to copies of the Muslim holy book Koran were first reported by Afghans working at the base, since then outraged Afghans protest furiously and have even besieged the largest US-run military base in Afghanistan, raining the base with petrol bombs and stones.
The enraged crowd shouted “Death to Americans” and “Death to infidels” at guards at Bagram airbase, north of Kabul. The guards responded by firing rubber bullets to disperse the enraged crowd, stated an AFP photographer, who was also hit in the neck.
Koran burning, punishable by death penalty in Afghanistan : Provocation or Stupidity ?
US helicopters fired flares to try to break up as many as 2,000 demonstrators among them many children who massed outside several gates to the military base. The AFP photographer reported seeing at least seven other protesters hit by rubber bullets, some of them bleeding.
Sediq Sediqqi, an interior ministry spokesman, stated that by early afternoon the protests were under control and there was no further violence.
Koran Burning in Afghanistan : Another Atrocity by Us Troops
Hundreds of other Afghans protested in Kabul as Afghan and Nato security forces dispatched reinforcements in a bid to stop the violent demonstrations from spiralling out of control in the fiercely conservative Islamic country provoked when US Troops burned Koran copies confiscated from prisoners in the Bagram base.
US general John Allen apologetic over Koran burning
The US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, apologised and ordered an investigation into a report that his troops “improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Korans”. Commander of Us Troops in Afghanistan, John Allen did not confirm the reports of the Koran burnings, but made a perfervid apology for the “large number of religious materials which included Korans” improperly disposed of by personnel at the base.
Gen Allen’s statement reflected fear over the impact of the latest incident in the country, where US troops have been fighting against a radical Islamist 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 Korans,” the Nato genearal explained.
“When we learned of these actions [troops burning Koran], we immediately intervened and stopped them. The materials recovered will be properly handled by appropriate religious authorities.
“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 expressed. “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.”
Gen 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.
Koran Burnings : The easiest way to provoke Muslims
Last April, 30 people, including some UN workers were killed and dozens of others were injured in Afghanistan during days of unrest unleashed by the publicly displayed burning of a Koran by American pastor Terry Jones in Florida.
The desecration of sacred religious materials starting with Koran, the holy book of Islam, is considered to be a crime punishable by death in Afghanistan.