Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Afghans Furious Over Koran Burning, US Apologizes

The story seems to be that materials that were left behind by prisoners, including "extremist literature", were disposed of by burning them. Caught in those materials was a (few?) Koran. The uproar and backlash that followed was predictable.

Not 'smart power' and not wining the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.


"U.S. helicopters fired flares to disperse hundreds of angry Afghans who massed outside the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday after hearing staff there had burned copies of the Koran.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued an apology for "inappropriate treatment" of Islam's holy book at the base to try to contain fury over the incident - a public relations disaster for Washington as it tries to pacify the country ahead of the withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014.

White House spokesman Jay Carney later echoed his remarks, telling a briefing, "We apologize to the Afghan people and disapprove of such conduct in the strongest possible terms."
A senior U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said staff at Bagram had decided to remove "extremist literature" and other materials left in a library in the base's detention block.

"They (the materials) were taken out of the library for good reason but they were being disposed of in a bad way," the official said.

"There was a breakdown in judgment in this matter but there was no breakdown in our respect for Islam," the official added.

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