Afghan protesters in front of Bagram Air Base during an anti-U.S. demonstration, Feb. 21, 2012. (AP)
Penned by (I don't know)
Updated at 8:35 a.m. ET
KABUL, Afghanistan - More than 2,000 angry Afghans protested outside an American air base on Tuesday after they learned that copies of the Quran (Koran), the Muslim holy book, were burned in a pile of garbage at a sprawling U.S. military base north of Kabul.
"Die, die, foreigners!" the demonstrators shouted. Some fired rifles into the air. Others threw rocks at the gate of the base.
A CBS News crew traveled to the sprawling Bagram Air Field in Parwan province and saw the remnants of several tires which were set on fire at an entrance gate to the sprawling U.S. base, and as many as several hundred protesters were still chanting at another gate, but appeared to be dispersing.
The burning of the Quran and other religious books was unintentional, said U.S. Gen. John Allen, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The incident stoked anti-foreign sentiment that already is on the rise after a decade of war in Afghanistan and fueled the arguments of Afghans who claim foreign troops are not respectful of their culture or Islamic religion.
Early Tuesday, as word of the incident spread, about 100 demonstrators gathered outside the base. As the crowd grew, so did the outrage.
One protester, Mohammad Hakim, said if U.S. forces can't bring peace to Afghanistan, they should go home.
"They should leave Afghanistan rather than disrespecting our religion, our faith," Hakim said. "They have to leave and if next time they disrespect our religion, we will defend our holy Quran, religion and faith until the last drop of blood has left in our body."
Ahmad Zaki Zahed, chief of the provincial council, said U.S. military officials took him to a burn pit on the base where 60 to 70 books, including Qurans, were recovered. The books were used by detainees once incarcerated at the base, he said.
"Some were all burned. Some were half-burned," Zahed said, adding that he did not know exactly how many Qurans had been burned.
Zahed said five Afghans working at the pit told him that the religious books were in the garbage that two soldiers with the U.S.-led coalition transported to the pit in a truck late Monday night. When they realized the books were in the trash, the laborers quickly worked to recover them, he said.
"The laborers there showed me how their fingers were burned when they took the books out of the fire," he said.
In a statement, Allen said he had ordered an investigation and offered his apologies to the president and people of Afghanistan. He thanked local Afghan workers "who helped us identify the error, and who worked with us to immediately take corrective action."
"We are thoroughly investigating the incident and are taking steps to ensure this does not ever happen again," Allen said. "I assure you, I promise you, this was not intentional in any way."
Afghan Army Gen. Abdul Jalil Rahimi, the commander of a military coordination office in the province, said he and other officials met with protesters, tribal elders and clerics to try to calm their emotional response. "The protesters were very angry and didn't want to end their protest," he said.
Later, however, the protesters ended the rally and said they would send 20 representatives from the group to Kabul to talk with Afghan parliamentarians and demanded a meeting with President Hamid Karzai, Rahimi said.
The governor's office in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan called the incident a "shameful move by some stupid individuals."
Zia Ul Rahman, deputy provincial police chief, said between 2,000 and 2,500 protesters demonstrated at the base.
"The people are very angry. The mood is very negative," Rahman said while the rally was going on. "Some are firing hunting guns in the air, but there have been no casualties."
Police said a similar protest on Tuesday just east of Kabul ended peacefully.
In April 2011, Afghans protesting the burning of a Quran by a Florida pastor turned deadly when gunmen in the crowd stormed a U.N. compound in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif and killed three staffers and four Nepalese guards.
Separately, officials in Helmand province in the south said insurgents beheaded four people Sunday night in Washer district on the charge that they were spies.
"The militants told the local people that they were guilty because they were carrying satellite phones," provincial spokesman Daoud Ahmadi said.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said that the militant group was not involved in the killings.
Also in the south, a NATO service member died Tuesday as a result of a non-battle related injury. The U.S. led coalition gave no further details about the death. So far this year, 44 NATO service members have been killed in Afghanistan.
burn it they burn our flag and bible everday some where so we burned a few of they quran payback is a bi- - h and you are right the ohama administration and it's muslim base will throw our soldiers under the bus!
SEND LEON PANETTA and HILARY ................But if any of Our Troops are delivered to these Scum or taken and Our Commanders Don't execute an Immediate Reprisal, the Administration and the Joint chiefs Need to be Jerked out of their Chambers Right Then
They're looking for trouble,give it to them!shoot them all ,let god sort em out.
Just get out of Afghanistan and then NUKE them.
Perfect!!! Should have done that to beging with, and look at the lives and limbs of our American Soldiers that would have saved!!
Should have added that we have quite a few in DC to put on a plane and send over there before we NUKE them!!!
Nuke em til they glow then pave it and make it a WalMart parking lot. Someone at this base is going to be made a scapegoat by the politically correct traitorous generals and admirals in the pentagon and by the muslim in the White House. When if ever is some elected public servant going to stand up and say enough is enough? We have taken as much from these raghead b******s as we're going to take and that includes the ones in this country. Unfortunately there is not one elected official in the entire country who is willing to stand up and tell them to go back where they came from. Unless the people rise up and throw them out they will eventually take over the entire country. I'm a proud staunch Christian and if the day should ever come that I can't worship the one true God as directed by holy scripture and someone attempts to prevent that someone is going to die. End of discussion.
But- But --But you just don't understand--these poor ignorant Afghani were only attempting to follow th eleadership of their local Imam and what they were instructed to do at the local mosque.Silly Foreigners the proper way to dispose of the Koran is to use it as Shia paper first.Or if that is too repulsive perhaps shred it for bedding in the Pig pen.
Puting it in the pig pen may make the pigs sick just bring the troops home and let them fright and kill them selves if you know anything about that part of the world it will not be long till they start frighing with each other and if our troops are here will not be killed there everyone's happy except ohama and hiscronies!( and sorry if any of the spelling is off )
Ray we are in agreement as to a proper policy for that region. IMO America ought withdraw every combat soldier from ANY Islamic nation. And redeploy them to any Western Nation -or any non-Muslim Nation as a defense. And let the Sunni and Shia, and Wahabbi , and th elike slay each other to their hearts content. We ought not allow any man or woman leave that Islamic slaughterhouse. Only children under the age of six. And they should be put in a foster home of a Christian -or a Jew. As for the Muslim in Our Country-they ought have a choice-move to camps similar to those we once had for Japanese Americans (Until the war is over)
or they could leave to return to what ever country of origin they claim Never to return to the USA.Every Mosque every business that serves the Muslims ought be seized and shut down. ISLAM is not compatible with the United States of America.
I would propose that we take up a HUGE collection of Korans and have a BIG Aggie bonfire, let them burn for a week, then give them a bible, oh but that is a problem, they can't read English....maybe they will spend the rest of their measly lives trying to figure out how to join the rest of us in the English language.
But Clois, these backward baffoons haven't been able to communicate for over 2000 years, so learning English would be considered a form of rocket science to these cave dwellers..