News / Asia

Uniformed Man Kills 2 Coalition Soldiers in Afghanistan

Afghan demonstrators run as they shout anti-US slogans during a protest against Koran desecration in Kabul, February 23, 2012.
Afghan demonstrators run as they shout anti-US slogans during a protest against Koran desecration in Kabul, February 23, 2012.

NATO officials say an individual wearing an Afghan army uniform shot and killed two coalition soldiers in eastern Afghanistan during one of the many protests that have erupted across the country over the burning of Qurans at a NATO facility.

The deadly incident occurred Thursday outside a coalition military base in Nangarhar province.

Earlier Thursday, the Taliban issued a statement calling on Afghans to launch attacks on foreign targets in retaliation for the desecration of the Muslim holy book.

But in a joint statement, the Afghan delegations assigned to probe the incident appealed to the Afghan people to "exercise self-restraint and extra vigilance" and avoid resorting to protests that may allow "the enemy to take advantage of the situation."

Since the demonstrations erupted Tuesday, clashes between Afghan security forces and protesters have left at least 13 people dead.

On Thursday, hundreds of protesters attacked a U.S.-run base in eastern Laghman province, where they stormed the walls and threw rocks.  In northern Baghlan province, officials said gunfire killed one protester and wounded at least two police officers.

Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said it has received a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama formally apologizing for the incident "in which religious materials were unintentionally mishandled."

In the letter, Obama expresses his "deep regret" and offers his "sincere apologies."  He writes that "the error was inadvertent" and that officials will take the "appropriate steps" to avoid any recurrence and hold those accountable responsible.

On Wednesday, President Karzai appealed for calm, saying citizens have the right to protest, but should not resort to violence.  

Nazif Shahrani, an Afghan native who is a South Asia analyst at Indiana University, told VOA the protests are about more than this one incident.

"What people seem to perceive is that the U.S. has essentially not kept its promises and that all the promises have been false," said Shahrani.  "And these are really symptoms of that anger and that disappointment toward the United States.  And it's hoped that the United States government looks at this issue more broadly than just apologizing for what has happened in Bagram."

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter met Wednesday in Kabul with Afghan leaders, including President Karzai, to again apologize for the incident.

The commander of the international coalition, U.S. General John Allen, had issued an apology Tuesday, saying the improper disposal of Islamic religious texts was "not intentional in any way."  He has ordered an investigation.

Protesters said Wednesday that they want the Americans out of their country and that words alone cannot change the disrespect that Muslims have suffered.

Media reports quote unnamed Western officials with knowledge of the incident 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.

Afghan protests against the destruction of the Muslim holy book have turned deadly in recent years.  In April 2011, about 20 people were killed during several days of protests across Afghanistan after little-known U.S. pastor Terry Jones burned a Quran at his small Florida church.

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

You May Like

Obama Pledges 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Burials

Country is improving at rapid response to remote, isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace Christmas precisely because of its non-religious glamor and commercial appeal 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 Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid