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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid