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.
We might better have a cork screw to uncork some of the convoluted fermnted craniums within the beltway these days. Didn't Plutarch characterize many of those prototypes? So much for this "aside".
Personally I'd just as soon use a short rope and a tall tree. That way we could reuse the rope and save some money.
Here I am going to get myself in trouble. I have a much different view of Lincoln. Except for the current president no president in the history of the country trampled on the constitution more than Lincoln. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeus corpus. The numbers vary but he imprisoned somewhere between 13,000 and 16,000 people with out trial or access to the courts. These folks were for the most part newspaper editors and publishers who were critical of his administration. He imposed an income tax which at the time was prohibited by the constitution. He sent Federal troops to Annapolis, MD to prevent the Maryland legislature from meeting. Something he had no right to do. He deported a member of Congress from Ohio who was critical of his administration. How do you legally deport a native born US citizen? He waged war on defenseless old men, women, and children. A careful reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in light of the military situation at the time it was issued will reveal that is did not free a single slave. The Emancipation Proclamation was a political gimmick to convince soldiers who's term of service was about to expire to reenlist. Except for this gimmick he would have lost a good portion of the army and not been able to continue the war. At the time of the civil war all of the state constitutions, as approved by congress, had a clause in them which allowed them to leave the union if they so desired. Lincoln intentionally provoked South Carolina into firing the first shot so he could pursue his unjust, illegal war. Many years ago I read Allen Nevin's Ordeal of the Union and remember reading about all these things as individual incidents but I never considered them in light of what was and was not permitted by the constitution. It is my contention that every drop of blood shed during the civil war can be laid at Lincoln's feet. An examination of Lincoln's writings will reveal that he had a very low opinion of blacks and was not the great "emancipator" that we have been led to believe that he was. I would recommend getting a copy of Thomas Dilorenzo's book, "The Real Lincoln". I have come to the conclusion that we have been lied to by historians, politicians, and teachers for most of our lives and it is because we swallowed these lies that we are in the situation we are in today.
If you get in trouble for this opine it will not come from me.Much of what you have said I have heard before and some of it I agree with. I like Lincoln because he did what he thought necessary to end slavery---and preserve the Union. His House Divided speech seems a fair road map to his administration. He stated before he was elected those were his goals and secured them. Those actions he took were undertaken specific to those goals #1 end slavery and #2 preserve the Union. Unlike many in the North - I am not convinced that Lincoln hated the sons of the South. He wanted Lee-but understood Lee was loyal to his State. His prosecution of the war was not intended to punish the South so much as it was to restore the Union.
Thanks for all of the understanding. In the past I have been lambasted for expressing my opinion of Lincoln. I truly believe that the civil war was unnecessary and that the south would have eventually returned to the union without all of the bloodshed. In his book Dilorenzo wrote about "internal improvements" which back then was the phrase for unconstitutional spending on projects such as canals, railroads, etc. just as social security and a whole host of other government programs are unconstitutional. And, Lincoln was in favor of these projects which were being blocked by the southern democrats. I would disagree with you and say that he did want to punish the South. I have to paraphrase but he or one of his generals (and the generals for the most part had their actions approved by the administration) said that the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia was to be devastated to the point that a crow flying across the valley would have to carry its own "provender". That campaign alone sentenced thousands of old men, women, and children to starvation. Sherman's march to the sea was nothing more then wholesale wanton mass destruction of civilian property which again sentenced old men, women, and children to unnecessary hardships. I'm sure you've seen the pictures of Richmond. The devastation matched anything done during WWII. Had Grant not offered Lee such magnanimous terms at Appomattox and the politicians had gotten involved I'm sure the terms and conditions imposed on the South would have been very severe. I am really enjoying this discussion. Thanks again for the reply and understanding.
This is all interesting but not the thread deals with the Afghan Koran burning......
AMEN Mr miles
A smart president would have gone on TV at the very first notice and deny it ever happened. Instead we have a cowardly apologist with crap for brains in the White House. I wouldn't have sent Karzai a letter of apology, I would write him to tell him to go hang himself!
There's the Hemp again.SCREAMING for JUSTICE....So Much Clean up to Do.
Your post is confusing, please clarify.
David he's talking about rope.
They stomp and burn our flag which is precious to us so when their Quran is burned they go nuts, maybe we should burn throusands and billions more.