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US Newspaper Says Quran Burning Followed a Chain of Mishaps

An Afghan demonstrator holds a copy of a half-burnt Quran, allegedly set on fire by US soldiers, at the gate of Bagram airbase during a protest against Koran desecration at Bagram, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Kabul, February 21, 2012.
An Afghan demonstrator holds a copy of a half-burnt Quran, allegedly set on fire by US soldiers, at the gate of Bagram airbase during a protest against Koran desecration at Bagram, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Kabul, February 21, 2012.

A prominent American newspaper says a series of events that led to the burning of Qurans at a NATO base in Afghanistan last month could have been stopped at several points "along a chain of mishaps, poor judgements and ignored procedures."

The February 20 book burning at Bagram Air Base sparked days of violent anti-American protests across Afghanistan that left at least 30 people dead and frayed relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan.  

The New York Times quotes a U.S. official close to the joint Afghan-American investigation into the incident as saying at least six people involved in the Quran burning, including "American military leaders" and an American interpreter, could face disciplinary action.  

The newspaper says about a week before the burning, military officers became concerned that detainees at a detention facility next to Bagram Air Base were secretly communicating through notes written in books from the detention center's library.

The Times reports two Afghan-American interpreters were told to sift through the books and set aside any that could pose a security risk.  The interpreters identified 1,652 books for removal, including copies of the Quran and other religious books.

The Times quotes a U.S. official familiar with the joint investigation as saying the books should have been stored rather than burned.  

The Times also cites Maulavi Khaliq Dad, a member of the Ulema Council, the pre-eminent body of Afghan religious leaders, which conducted its own inquiry into the incident.  He is quoted as saying that some Afghan soldiers saw religious books in boxes awaiting removal. The soldiers told their commanding officer, but by the time he relayed his concerns to his American counterpart, the books were on their way to the incinerator.

The newspaper says both U.S. and Afghan officials believe the soldiers driving the books to the incinerator could not read Arabic and did not understand the significance of the holy books.

The New York Times says an Afghan worker "began to scream" when he realized the soldiers were burning holy Muslim books, and he and other Afghan workers tried to extinguish the fire with their water bottles.  

The newspaper says "the Americans immediately stopped," but not before four books had been badly burned.

U.S. President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials have apologized for the Quran burning.

On Friday, the Ulema Council called the burning of the Muslim holy books a "crime" and "inhumane," said U.S. apologies would not be accepted, and called for those responsible to be "publicly tried and punished." The council also called on the U.S. to end night raids and hand over its prisons in Afghanistan to Afghan control.




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by: Abdul Wahid Khan
March 15, 2012 5:42 AM
Dear USA... Please stop killing innocent Afghan citizen and dis respecting religions. religion is the most crucial thing in Asia and it can give very bad results. it can casue world war becasue people believ in sacrifice for religiona and unfortunately dont have that passion and are wrongly guided.


by: Religious
March 15, 2012 1:05 AM
It was 10 years ago when former President George W, Bush announced the beginning of the war on Afghanistan. It has now become the longest- running war in the U.S. history, and there is no end in sight, so should we not pray and follow Muhammad Rosa Khani? He does not say which religion to follow, but only that religion may be the key to free the world. We should at least respect what is left to learn about humanity. I hope it was not the holy book they burned, bad enough they pretended!


by: Lavea
March 12, 2012 7:55 AM
May the mercy of Allah be upon them!


by: sagala fahad engineering student mmakerere university fainal year student
March 07, 2012 9:44 PM
despite their saying it was a mistake all matters go to Allah for judgment but in that book they burnt their contained guidance,mercy and peace for them but the hatred will continue till the day when they will raised again for judgment because Allah guides not those who do wrong and the quran is not some thing new but confirmation for the existing scriptures.


by: Chan Onymous Chowhard
March 03, 2012 5:20 PM
It seems to me that what occurred here was not "burning a holy book". "Burning a holy book" is an intended, symbolic act, and is of course disgraceful. If it is proper and just to howl about anything here, it would be that intention. Is that intention present in this incident, I wonder?


by: Rob Swift
March 03, 2012 1:11 PM
Moses gave them the Law such that at the end of time the Karmic Law will be made to prevail.(By Moses) A Law is not a Law unless it is enforceable. Judges are the Judged because they take the Law into their own hands. To demand public trial and punishment is not in accordance with the true Law, hence it is written - "Judge not lest you be judged."


by: Godwin
March 03, 2012 7:51 AM
The question is, what really is US doing in Afghanistan? We were told it went to war in there, now why should the conquering army not destroy anything it sees as belonging to the enemy, especially one that gingers the enemy to do more harm and evil? Why is the US soldier mingling so much with Afghanistan, even in civilian affairs? Osama bin Laden has been captured, and taliban is not accessible; so then leave and return to your country or fight a war the wars are fought.


by: Haron
March 03, 2012 5:59 AM
i think it was an incident if it was intentionally or non-intentionally but beside of these mistakes we studied & watched other mistakes of America with their allies in Afghanistan not during 10 years but about 30 years. we got alot of lessons in our life. Afghanistan tested every friends & enemies we support our president if he doesn't sign strategic parternship or sign SP. if he sign he must to put bets & get garantee from U.S otherwise there is no need for U.S

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