U.S. probe of Koran burning finds 5 soldiers responsible, officials say; clerics demand trial

PUL-E-ALAM, Afghanistan — Military investigators have concluded that five soldiers were involved in the incineration of a pile of Korans in Afghanistan last week, according to U.S. military officials who have been briefed on the inquiry.

The burning of the Muslim holy books — which U.S. officials say was accidental — incited a week of protests that left 30 Afghans dead. The burnings also were cited as motivation for at least some of the six fatal attacks on U.S. soldiers that have occurred in Afghanistan in the last eight days.

Afghan authorities said Sunday they have identified a suspect in the killing of two U.S. military advisers inside an Afghan ministry a day earlier and have launched a manhunt to track him down. (Feb. 26)

Afghan authorities said Sunday they have identified a suspect in the killing of two U.S. military advisers inside an Afghan ministry a day earlier and have launched a manhunt to track him down. (Feb. 26)

Investigators appointed by Marine Gen. John R. Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, found that the soldiers removed the Korans from a prison located at Bagram air base after they were found to contain extremist messages.

The books were then placed in an office for safekeeping, according to the inquiry. But they were mistaken for garbage and taken to a landfill on the base.

Afghan employees identified the books as Korans just as their pages caught fire, a major desecration, according to Muslim teachings. The discovery led to a week of unprecedented tension between U.S. and Afghan military officials.

U.S. military officials said that although the five soldiers will be reprimanded, it’s unlikely that their names will be released or that their punishment will approach the seriousness of what some Afghans are demanding, including trial in an Afghan court.

“For the soldiers, it will be serious — they could lose rank. But you’re not going to see the kind of public trial that some here seem to want,” said one U.S. military official.

Another military official said: “What they did was careless, but there was no ill will.”

The much-discussed investigation was intended to quell unrest and prove to the Afghan public that U.S. officials were both apologetic and willing to make amends for wrongdoing.

But U.S. military officials expressed concern that the investigation’s finding — which stops short of pinning blame on malevolent soldiers — might not satisfy Afghan leaders who have have publicly demanded harsh retribution.

Senior Afghan clerics, in a statement issued after a meeting with President Hamid Karzai, said “this evil action cannot be forgiven by apologizing. The perpetrators of the mentioned crime should be put on a public trial as soon as possible.”

The clerics reiterated calls for the U.S.-led NATO coalition to relinquish control of military prisons to the Afghan government. “This incident was caused due to the illegal management of the prison,” the clerics said, according to a translation of their statement provided by the U.S. military. The clerics said they “strongly urged for the suspension of all prisons and the transfer of all prisoners to the Afghan government so that in the future similar incidents do not happen.”

NATO spokesman Col. Jimmie Cummings declined to comment on the findings of the military inquiry, saying it was “still going through the legal process.” A separate Afghan investigation, which is being conducted by parliamentarians and religious officials, is expected to conclude in the next several days. U.S. military officials worry that if the Afghan investigation clashes with their own findings, it could reinvigorate demonstrators whose anger has appeared to fade this week.

“There’s a real concern there. We don’t know what the investigation will say, or how the public will react,” one official said. “But we know that there’s a real interest in trying guilty parties in an Afghan court, and that’s not something we’re prepared to do.” 

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Gavin Sundwall, said American officials “certainly hope” that the release of Afghan report will not lead to more violence. A third investigative panel that includes both U.S. and Afghan officials also is expected to issue its findings soon.

“We appreciated President Karzai’s repeated calls for dialogue and calm earlier and hope that people took them to heart,” Sundwall said. “. . . We believe that we will get through this unfortunate period, that a decade’s worth of relationships don’t go away in a single week.”

When Afghan employees discovered the partially charred Korans at Bagram, they launched into a protest outside of Kabul that was followed by dozens more across the country.

Afghan security forces and a civilian have killed six American soldiers in three different incidents since the Koran burnings became known, including two who were shot in the back of the head while working at their desks inside the fortified Interior Ministry. In response to that attack, Allen ordered Western advisers to temporarily evacuate Afghan ministries.

Many of those advisers still have not returned to work. They are permitted to attend “mission essential” meetings with their Afghan counterparts, but only if they are escorted by an armed guard and wearing body armor.

U.S. officials said better oversight could have prevented the Koran burning. Coalition soldiers across Afghanistan are now receiving training on how to properly handle religious materials — a lesson ordered by Allen. Much of the instruction has focused on the meaning and importance of the Koran in Muslim culture.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-probe-of-koran-burning-finds...

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OK you muslime douche bags we'll agree to a trial on who burned your comic book BUT we will also have a companion trial for the people who killed our soldiers because of your comic book. That's the deal. It's this way or you can fornicate yourself with your cornyran comic book. If I had my way your who damn hell hole of a country would have already been turned into a sheet of glass brought on by a nuclear detonation. And anybody else wants a piece of America....just say so. We'll be most happy to oblige. It would be that way too if we didn't have a limp wristed queer muslime communist in the white house. But just you wait, if Mr. Gingrich should happen to get into office your world will be vastly different from what it is now under the queers administration. I thought queers weren't allowed to live much less be a muslime. I bet MOOOOO HAM ed wasn't only a pedophile but I bet he was a queer too ! If you allow OJUDASS in your group then the rest of you are queers too. You can't have it both ways. You animals would gag a maggot !

 Just one word should suffice here-for the sake of clarity & solidarity for the support of my fellow comrades-in arms & for the sake of the United States of America, when this subject of a ' trial ' comes up; NO. ( Notice the period ) As service personnel know, we do NOT abandon our wounded, our dead, nor those in the fwd operating field(s), to an unknown fate, or, a foreign power's arbitrary, kangaroo court. This situation is a 2 way street & if the Afghani people are so ignorant as to believe- at the drop of a hat-or a change in the wind, that this was anything but a human error, then they have marked themselves- to their own version of ' God's ' judgement for their stupidity. This, from a people once known world-wide, for their advances in medecine, astronomics, physical sciences & mathematics, & even-gosh !-tolerance in diversity. What has happened to THAT spirit amongst them ? For an excellent short read, go to : hillsdale.edu & look at the ' Imprimis ' for Feb 2012, for an article that tells of the support for outrageous acts of violence by islamics that are, in fact, supported by goverments. The article is; " Blasphemy and Fee Speech ", by Paul Marshall. One of the best I've read of where this crap comes from. ( Hillsdale College has never accepted guv'mint funds or controls ). Please, read. Thank You Fellow Americans !    

Get the Hell out of that cesspool and leave them to kill each other. Leave with a warning that any attack on our departing forces or on America will result in death for them from the sky.  NO more messing around on the ground in that filth.

Dave 

I think a 'General Officer' should be assigned to supervise and witness all trash burning in Afghanistan. Give me a break...how about we just start shooting those 'Rag Head Sh..s' in the head every time they complain about how we don't have the proper respect for their religion...just like they don't respect ours.

They can all go to h&@l.  How many Bibles have been burned?  Start standing and defending our Military...this is total BS.  Too darn bad, a Koran was burned; its OK to stone women, saw the heads off of "infidels", "honor killings"  these people are barbaric.  One thing to thank them for, the formation of our navy, under Jefferson.  Nuke the site.

I cannot believe what pathetic marshmallows the Generals in the U.S military have turned out to be. Kissing the enemy's ass is hardly the way to win a war.  If we aren't there to win, then why ARE we there?  

 

We can't even trust THEM anymore.  Everyone in our government is happy to throw their flock to the wolves.  Only God is left to save this nation...and unfortunately I think he's pissed at our lot, and who could blame him?

 

With the death (or murder) of Andrew Breitbart, we have lost one of the last brave Generals we had.  I just want to cry.

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