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

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins 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.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid