News / Asia

NATO Recalls Staff from Afghan Ministries After Shooting

Afghans burn tires during an anti-U.S. demonstration over burning of Qurans at a US military base, in Muhammad Agha, Logar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, February 25, 2012.
Afghans burn tires during an anti-U.S. demonstration over burning of Qurans at a US military base, in Muhammad Agha, Logar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, February 25, 2012.

NATO has recalled all staff working at Afghan government ministries after two U.S. officers were shot dead at close range inside a secure command center at the Interior Ministry in Kabul.

NATO said the decision to order the recall came "for obvious force protection reasons."  It said the official account indicated a member of the Afghan security forces turned his weapon on the Americans who worked as advisers at the ministry.   

The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting, and said the attack was retaliation for the burning of Qurans by NATO personnel a week ago.  The incident has inflamed passions throughout the country and led to rioting in which dozens of people have died.

The Pentagon described as "unacceptable" the killing of the two officers.  A spokesman for U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said his Afghan counterpart, Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, had called to apologize for the incident.

Later Saturday, President Barack Obama called his top commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, to discuss the ongoing violence in the country, as well as the killing of the two Americans.  Mr. Obama expressed his condolences to General Allen and to the families of the victims.  He also welcomed a statement by Afghan President Hamid Karzai calling for "dialogue and calm."  

A NATO spokesman, Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, said a gunman "turned his weapon against" the Americans.  There was no word on the fate of the gunman or whether anyone else was involved in the shooting. "What we can confirm so far is that in the inner city of Kabul an individual pulled his weapon and opened fire on members of the International Security Assistance Force. We can confirm that two ISAF personnel were killed in this incident and at this present stage it is too early before the information process to the next of kin is done to talk about any further details of those who perished," he said.

Violence continued across Afghanistan Saturday, in a fifth straight day of protest over the burning of Qurans.

Hundreds of rock-throwing demonstrators attacked a United Nations compound in northern Kunduz province.  Local officials said at least three people were killed and 47 were wounded in the rioting.

Since Tuesday, when reports first surfaced about the Quran-burning incident at Bagram Air Base near Kabul, at least 27 people have died in violent circumstances, including at least two other NATO service members whose killing was claimed by the Taliban.

President Obama and other U.S. officials have apologized for any desecration of the Muslim holy book, but that has done little to quiet the outrage in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.  

NATO is conducting a full investigation of the incident, but has not issued a detailed statement yet.  Media reports quoted unnamed Western officials as saying it appeared that the copies of the Quran in question and other Islamic readings in the library at Bagram were being used to fuel extremism, and that detainees were writing on the documents to exchange extremist messages.

In a separate incident in western Badghis province, Afghanistan's defense ministry said six Afghan soldiers died and 16 were wounded Saturday while trying to defuse a roadside bomb.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid