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.
I think it's great that that individual wants to give the last drop of his blood for his convictions. I hope he would, thats one less radical we can live without in this world.
I would be more than willing to assist him in every way. Very much unlike our politically correct military leadership. Why do such wonderful, well trained, dedicated men and women have to be saddled with such pathetic leadership.
no accident, the year was around 666 AD.
islam is a paganistic cult of murderous thugs who wouldn't know civilization if they saw it. They still live in the stone age and are trying to take the entire world back there so they will be at home. Let's get our troops out of all pagan countries and let them kill each other until their blood lust is satisfied or there aren't any ragheded morons left.
I would rather just leave all muslim countries and let these pagan cult animals kill each other to their heart's content. Why waste our money and the lives of your young people to help morons who are not capable of apprecting anything we do for them. Let them live in the stone age and bring our soldiers back here to protect our borders.
IT HAS BEEN WRITTEN ON THE BIBLE II CHRONICLES CHAPTER 20: 1-29 WHEN GOD IN ORDER TO SAVE ISRAEL FROM BEING OVERRUN BY MOAB AND THE MOABITES, OUR GOD JEHOVAH TOLD THE JEWISH LEADER JEHOSHAPHAT, WHO'S PRAYERS WERE HEARD WHEN TOLD, DO NOT WORRY, STAND ASIDE FOR THIS IS MY FIGHT AND GOD TURNED THEM CRAZED RABID ARABS AGAINST ONE ANOTHER UNTIL THEY ANNIHILATED EACH OTHER, TILL NONE WERE LEFT STANDING THUS THE SAME IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW AS HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF YET SOB OBAMA IGNORES THE BIBLE AND WANTS TO INTERVENE ON BEHALF OF THE ONE OR THE ONES THAT ARE LEFT ALIVE, WHEN ITS BEST TO STAY OUT OF THEIR WANTON KILLING BY RISKING THE LIVES OF ANY ONE AMERICAN WHO'S WORTH 1000 OF THEM, BUT UNFORTUNATELY "MARXIST/OBAMA" ONLY READS THE KORAN, STUPIDLY SO OR OTHERWISE STUPIDLY EVIL DRIVEN. CHECK THIS OUT THE NAME "MOAB" IF REVERSED SPELLS OBAMA WIHOUT THE A, AT THE END WHICH STANDS FOR A _ _ H _ _ _.
While we are at it, Lets stop giving "Free Money" to them and use that money for all our un-employed citizens that have paid taxes, not for the free-loaders and illegals in this country, then maybe we can get this country moving in the right direction, after we replace the usurper in the WH, replace all members, except the 2010 elected members who have shown they have backbone and then replace the Justice department starting with the Supreme Court on down. It sure sounds like a great plan to me.
I think this is wonderful. The Koran being burned is a symbol that we should continue to use. The book is satanic and is evil. We would not want to anger our God with such evil. Burn it and let it go. We do not want it in America anyway. This is the best news that I have heard. No one should be punished and no one should admit to doing it. It was a good thing to do. This good is not religious it is satanic.
OH YEAH, RIGHT ON - -BUT This AINT About What We Want. Now, I scribbled a note to the VFW this morning and told them they Damn Well Better be watching this and if BHO ans Co. Dare take Reprisal Against OUT TROOPS, Then (IMHO), the V.F.W. Better be Scalding the Administration and calling for "the heads" of Our Government that they might permit such an appeasal of the Islamists. - - - TORRENTS of INNER RAGE.