Afghan protesters in front of Bagram Air Base during an anti-U.S. demonstration, Feb. 21, 2012. (AP)
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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.
Since these books were already made 'impure' by their fellow muslims, they ceased to be "holy" and therefore fit to be trashed. So what is the problem???
These irate Afghanis should be going after their fellow islamics who PROFANED their holy book... and not castigate the very people who were removing them from allah's sight.
Personally, every forth of July, Veteran's day, and president's day I go out on the front lawn, raise my flag, get out the barbecue and fry some more pages of my copy of the koran.
Obummer sent msg apologizing to the Afgans over the burning of the koran!!! Who's sending msgs apologizing over the death of two US Soldiers, who were killed in retaliation?!!!
This was on Noon News from VolunteerTV out of Knoxville, Tn today.
You're quite welcome. Don't know what I was thinking! I should have posted it with my initial post. Thanks for reminding me.
This is another situation in which the POTUS has another reason for apologizing to our enemy. Fundamentalists, my A--. The Muslim Brotherhood will soon be taking over every country in the middle east. Blaming this mess on fundamentalists is a joke. I'll guarantee you that if we don't do something drastic (SOON) This is going to turn into the biggest HOLY WAR that has ever taken place. Religous Fanatics, not just fundamentalists is what Islam is all about. Kill the Infidels is their Game and Fanaticism is their Name. We've got 1.6 billion reasons to reign hell fire down on these pagan cave men. When America has a weak President all of our enemies take advantage of it. Carter, hostages in Iran - O'bama hostages in Egypt. Carter, 60's and 70's Riots and fighting in the street. Obama, so called Wall Street Occupiers, Riots and fighting in the streets. Due to his weakness Carter lost the election to Reagan. Do to his weakness and socialistic plan for the US Obama will lose to, don't know yet, but he will lose. Just as long as we get this low life, Socialistic, bottom feeder out of the PEOPLES WHITEHOUSE. Let me ask every American who reads this. Would you kill a person for burning the Bible? Of course you wouldn't because this is America, the LAND OF THE FREE. You are allowed to express your feelings as long as you don't hurt anyone or cause malicious damage. Four more years of Ali-Bama will completely destroy our country and way of life. If you don't stand up and speak, pretty soon somebody is going to tell you to shut up and sit-down. KNOCK OUT THE KENYAN KID in November or it could very well be our last election. I hope an honest election is still possible in the LAND THAT I LOVE.
Kenneth, I don't see it on the election. Personally, I think it has already been rigged or he is not planning to have an election once he declares "Martial Law" and executes the NDAA in this country. FEMA camps are being staffed now, so IMHO, we are screwed unless we rise up and take the fight to Washington. I believe BO will justify starting a war with Iran, then Iran will strike us, then we get lockdown and it will be all over for us. The dictator is in charge.. We had better be getting the plan together because I for one will not live under "Slavery" or worse under "Muslim Law". I would rather someone take me out and blow my brains out first.
I BELIEVED THAT GOD HAS SOMETHING REASONS AND HAPPENS AT U.S. AIR BASE CONNECT WITH BURNING KORAN BOOKS.
TO EXAMPLE THAT WORLD PEOPLE AGAINST MUSLIMS KORAN BOOKS . NO IDEA ! .
MAYBE IT IS GOOD TIME MESSAGE TO OBAMA ABOUT BURNING KORAN BOOKS THERE AS HE IS MUSLIM AND KORAN BOOK READER !
OBAMA MUST UNDERSTAND THERE ARE WARS OVER THERE AT AFGHANS. NOTHING HE CAN DO ABOUT IT .
IT IS WARS AND WARS ALL OVER THE WORLD AND WILL OBAMA STOP ANOTHER WARS ?
FOR MANY YEARS OTHER COUNTRIES ESPECIALLY MUSLIMS AND ISLAMS BURNED U.S. FLAGS ! . THEY HAVE NO FEELING HONOR FOR U.S. FLAGS AS WE HAD HELPED KUWAIT, IRAQ , AFGHANS . AN OTHER WARS . BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO DUMB AND JUST LIKE OBAMA HAS NO FEELING FOR USA AND PEOPLE !!
I AM GLAD IT HAPPENED IN AFGHANS AND I AM SORRY TOO BUT THEY MUST ACCEPTED WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO USA FOR MANY YEARS !! . IT IS TIME TO AWAKE THEM AND PUNISHED SOMETHING SOMETIMES !
WE WANT TO IMPEACH OBAMA NOW OR BE CAPTURE BY U.S. MILITARY INTO PRISON !! . DAMNED ! .
DO NOT CUT MY MESSAGE !!! , HEAR ME !!! HEAR ME !!!! .
ONE THING I NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY WHY WHY THAT OUR NEARBY U.S. MILITARY ABOUT TWO OR THREE BASES ARE ABOUT 30-40 MILES FROM WASH. D.C. WHY CAN'T THEY ARREST OBAMA EASILY BECAUSE OF HIS CRIMINAL HISTORY AND COMMUNIS AND MUSLIM IN WHITE HOUSE.
EVERYONE KNOWS THAT IS ILLEGAL AND SEND OBAMA INTO PRISON NOW ! .
WE HAVE VERY MIGHTY US MILITARY IN THE WORLD AND CANNOT EVEN ARREST OBAMA AND MORE COMMIES INSIDE WHITE HOUSE .AND CAPITOL HILL CONGRESS AND PENTAGON BRASSES !! .
ALL U.S. MILITARY SOLDIERS KNEW THAT AND OBEY THEIR "OATH KEEPER LAWS " . I HAVE SEEN THEY ALREADY BROKEN ITS LAWS BECAUSE OF THAT .
I COULD NOT BELIEVE THAT NOW . MILLIONS MILLIONS AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE PUZZLED ABOUT OUR U.S. MILITARY , NAVY, ARMY AND AIR FORCE DO NOTHING !! . THAT IS VERY VERY SHAME !!~!
I WOULD RATHER TO BE IN HEAVEN THAN EARTH !! AMEN .
It was pretty sad to see General John R. Allen in the video being so apologetic and appeasing the koran cave men as if they have some importance on this earth. His first and only response should have been “What books?”
NUTS! He should have had a rifle plt. on lock and load to handle any radicals and they shouold have been singing Johnny Cash -Ring of Fire.
(Another day and we are subjected to sharia this and sharia that and low and behold the SOB that started this whole mess is laughing at us everyday when he gets up out of that cozy bed we are paying for.And i.ll bet that sorry no good of a president is on his knees praying to mecca and the God of evil and hatred allahabudool the fool and we are sitting back just letting it happen.He the guy in the WH has surrounded himself with the DOJ so no one can get to him.I,m so angry i could spit and you have all the liberals and know no betters that voted for this fool,on the sidelines clapping there hands and worshiping this what ever the hell he is.People we need to get angry and start putting signs on our cars with your choice of constitutional laws broken,or the thing that bugs you most ,BUT DO SOMETHING he and his brotherhood are communist and we are just as much at fault for getting into this mess.
At a press conference jay carney was speechless trying to defend his boss for not informing us the tax payer about whats really happening to our soldiers,reporters etc in obamas homeland countries of radical islamist and muslims,and obamba opening the theater exit doors letting them infiltrate what was the best government in the world,Now we are the laughing stock of the world.
I posted the comments above on ConservativeByte,just about an hour ago to vent my frustration,CB has a habit of deleting my post because i tell it like it is,and after my post they usually say something like"Your comments are being reviewed by our moderator" I hope i have not offended anyone of my fellow patriots,anyone else %$%$#@$%$#!!!!!........Joe.