White House apologizes for burning of Muslim holy books in garbage pile at Afghanistan base
WASHINGTON — The White House is apologizing for the burning of Muslim holy books in a pile of garbage at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan...
...A Western military official said the Qurans were removed from a library at a nearby detention center because they contained extremist messages. Carney didn’t address those specifics, referring questions to defense officials.
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22-Feb-2012 08:03 AMSingapore: oppresses Muslims, bans athaan, bans hijab in schools, prevents building of madrassahs or muslim schools, puts limit on the percentage of Muslims allowed in each apartment building, and bans Muslims from joining Singapore's elite military forces. Singapore; Israel's best buddy!
22-Feb-2012 08:06 AM
more than 2,000 Afghans protested the incident outside the Bagram Air Base that stoked rising anti-foreign sentiment and fueled Afghan claims that foreign troops disrespect their culture and Islamic religion even as the Americans and other NATO forces prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014.
Demonstrators who gathered outside Bagram Air Field, one of the largest U.S. bases in Afghanistan, shouted, "Die, die, foreigners!" Some fired rifles into the air. Others threw rocks at the gate of the base and set tires on fire...
...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 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...
SourceSingapore: oppresses Muslims, bans athaan, bans hijab in schools, prevents building of madrassahs or muslim schools, puts limit on the percentage of Muslims allowed in each apartment building, and bans Muslims from joining Singapore's elite military forces. Singapore; Israel's best buddy!
22-Feb-2012 08:36 AM
finally expressing what they think about the Quran?
22-Feb-2012 11:30 AM
Protesters firing petrol bombs and slingshots besieged the largest US-run military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday, furious over reports that Nato troops had set fire to copies of the Holy Quran.
The enraged crowd shouted "Death to Americans" and "Death to infidels" as guards at Bagram airbase, north of Kabul, responded by firing rubber bullets from a watchtower, said an AFP photographer, who was hit in the neck.
Hundreds of other people protested in the Afghan capital as security forces dispatched reinforcements in a bid to stop the demonstrations from spiralling out of control in the fiercely conservative Islamic country...
...Allegations that Nato troops at Bagram had set fire to copies of the Holy Quran were first reported by Afghans working at the base, a senior government official said.
A local police official said more than 2,000 people were demonstrating outside the sprawling US-run Bagram base at one stage.
The AFP photographer saw at least seven other protesters hit by rubber bullets, some of them bleeding...
...Another protest by about 500 people broke out in the Pul-e-Charkhi district of Kabul not far from major Nato bases on the Jalalabad road, police spokesman Ashamat Estanakzai told AFP.
http://gulftoday.ae/portal/93e25994-...a10d0054f.aspxSingapore: oppresses Muslims, bans athaan, bans hijab in schools, prevents building of madrassahs or muslim schools, puts limit on the percentage of Muslims allowed in each apartment building, and bans Muslims from joining Singapore's elite military forces. Singapore; Israel's best buddy!
22-Feb-2012 11:36 AM
Afghan youth throw stones toward US soldiers standing at the gate of Bagram airbase during a protest against Koran desecration at Bagram, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of Kabul, on February 21, 2012.
Afghan workers at the base dump spotted the U.S. soldiers — a man and a woman according the Afghan news reports — burning materials. Some of what they were burning turned out to be Korans, which one of the workers spirited outside the base to show to others, including religious leaders.
By Tuesday morning a crowd of about 3,000 Afghans had gathered outside the base to protest the burnings. The entrance to the sprawling former Soviet base, which is a key logistics and fighter jet hub, was closed for the day...
...Monday’s Koran burning followed an incident last month in which U.S. Marines were seen on video urinating on the corpses of dead Taliban. That incident is what an Afghan soldier said prompted him to murder four French trainers he was working with.
It is highly likely that the Koran burnings will lead to at least several days of further protests, adding to an already jittery security that has not been helped by American plans to wind down combat operations next year rather than in 2014.
There has been a lull in most fighting for several months now as Afghanistan experiences its harshest winter in many years. But as the snow begins to melt in a few weeks time, the Taliban will return from their hideouts in Pakistan and the war will resume...
22-Feb-2012 11:39 AM
...Protesters hurling petrol bombs and firing slingshots besieged the largest US-run military base in Afghanistan, furious over reports that NATO troops burned copies of the Koran.
The enraged crowd shouted "Death to Americans" and "Death to infidels" as guards at Bagram Airbase, north of Kabul, responded by firing rubber bullets from a watchtower, said an AFP photographer, who was hit in the neck...
...The Taliban, who have been waging a decade-long insurgency against Mr Karzai's Western-backed government, also condemned the Koran burning.
"Since the invasion of Afghanistan by the Americans, it is the 10th time they have taken such savage action to desecrate the sacred beliefs of Muslims," the Taliban said in a statement, calling for human rights organisations to "take action" to prevent such acts and "punish those criminals involved."
Allegations that NATO troops at Bagram had set fire to copies of the Muslim holy book were first reported by Afghans working at the base, a senior government official said...
...Last month, US officials scrambled to condemn four US soldiers shown in an online video urinating on the bloodied corpses of three Taliban insurgents.
The video, including one of the soldiers saying "Have a great day, buddy", served as a reminder of previous abuses committed by US troops during the decade-long war.
22-Feb-2012 11:43 AM
BAGRAM, Afghanistan (Reuters) - U.S. helicopters fired flares to disperse hundreds of angry Afghans who massed outside the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday after hearing staff there had burned copies of the Koran.
An Afghan man shouts anti-U.S slogans
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued an apology for "inappropriate treatment" of Islam's holy book at the base to try to contain fury over the incident - a public relations disaster for Washington as it tries to pacify the country ahead of the withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014...
...Protesters started to gather after Afghan labourers found charred remains of copies of the Koran as they collected rubbish from Bagram air base, the provincial governor's office said in a statement.
As many as 2,000 Afghans massed outside several gates to the base, the main centre for NATO-led forces just north of the capital Kabul, chanting anti-foreigner slogans and throwing stones, said Reuters reporters at the scene.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban in Afghanistan condemned the incident, both of them saying the values of Islam had been "degraded".
Winning the hearts and minds of Afghans is critical to U.S. efforts to defeating the Taliban, but critics say Western forces often fail to grasp Afghanistan's religious and cultural sensitivities.
A senior U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said staff at Bagram had decided to remove "extremist literature" and other materials left in a library in the base's detention block.
"They (the materials) were taken out of the library for good reason but they were being disposed of in a bad way," the official said.
"There was a breakdown in judgment in this matter but there was no breakdown in our respect for Islam," the official added...
...The apologies did little to ease the anger.
"We want them out of our country now," said Zmari, 30, a protester who has a shop near Bagram.
"We Afghans don't want these Christians and infidels, they are the enemy of our soil, our honour and our Koran," said Haji Shirin, one of the protesters at the heavily fortified compound, which is home to 30,000 foreign troops and civilians.
"I urge all Muslims to sacrifice themselves in order to pull out these troops from this soil."...
...Bagram houses a prison for Afghans detained by American forces. The centre has caused resentment among Afghans because of reports of torture and ill-treatment of suspected Taliban prisoners...
22-Feb-2012 02:09 PM
22-Feb-2012 02:38 PM
...Protests swelled through the morning and became violent as hundreds of infuriated Afghans set tires on fire and burned an external checkpoint at one of the entrances to the air base.
Shouting “Death to America” and “We don’t want them anymore,” they closed the district government building and stopped people trying to go to the center of the town, witnesses said. Some in the crowd sang Taliban songs, and several Urdu speakers, described as Pakistanis, made speeches...
...“They have burned our Holy Korans,” said Mohammed Asif, 30, who was demonstrating in front of the gates of Bagram Air Base. “We are Muslims and we are created by God and the Koran is our God’s book; we have to defend it. This means they burned our faith, our honor and our lives. The person who did this must stand trial.”
The number of burned Korans appeared to have been around 10 to 15, said Farid Ahad Shafaq, a member of the provincial council in Parwan who went into Bagram Air Base to meet with NATO officials. “We saw the burned copies,” he said. “Some were burned completely, and some were burned a little bit, and some were just exposed to heat.”
Still unclear was how many Korans NATO had planned to burn, said Mr. Shafaq, adding that he and others had not been told exactly where the Korans in the detention center’s library had originally come from. He said military officers had said that “we have gathered all these Korans and holy books during our operations and night raids and house searches, and some have been given to the military personnel as gifts by Afghans working with Americans on the base.”
That did not make sense to Mr. Shafaq, however, because all the copies that the officers showed him were new, he said. “I mean they looked absolutely unused,” Mr. Shafaq said.
The Taliban condemned the American action, calling it a “wild act” of disrespect to the Muslim Afghan people. Anti-Americanism already runs strong here, and after previous desecrations, military leaders have denounced them for putting foreigners’ lives at risk.
22-Feb-2012 06:43 PM
Afghanistan: US embassy on lockdown as Koran burning protests continue for second day
The US Embassy in Kabul has put its staff on lockdown and suspended all travel amid violent protests across the capital over the burning of Korans at Nato's main base in Afghanistan.
"The embassy is on lockdown; all travel suspended. Please, everyone, be safe out there," the embassy's official Twitter feed said of the protests where demonstrators screamed "Death to America!"
Police fired shots as around 1,000 protesters gathered for a second day of violent clashes after copies of Islam's holy book were burned on Tuesday.
Hundreds of Afghans threw stones, shouted "death to America" and torched tyres, pouring onto streets Wednesday for a second day of angry protests against Nato troops for burning copies of the Koran.
About 500 protesters hurled stones at a US military base while in the eastern city of Jalalabad more than 1,000 demonstrators blocked the highway shouting "Death to Americans, Death to Obama", AFP journalists said.
Afghanistan is a deeply religious country where slights against Islam have frequently provoked violent protests and Afghans were incensed that any Western troops could be so insensitive, 10 years after the 2001 US-led invasion.
In Kabul, the crowd attacked anti-riot police, forcing them to retreat, an AFP photographer said. At least one protester was shot, he said, without being able to identify where the shots came from.
Troops guarding the base, Camp Phoenix, fired in the air, he said, while black smoke from burning tyres rose above the demonstration in the Hod Khail neighbourhood.
A second protest erupted in west Kabul, involving about 100 university students, a police spokesman said, adding that riot police were present and the demonstration was under control.
The Jalalabad protest also involved university students, who chanted "We cannot tolerate insults to the sacred religion of Islam" as they prepared to burn an effigy of US President Barack Obama, an AFP reporter said.
The crowd blocked the key highway from the capital Kabul through the eastern provinces to the Pakistani trade port of Turkham.
22-Feb-2012 06:48 PM
U.S. Should Consider an Earlier Exit From Afghanistan
One week ago, Afghans marked Liberation Day, the 23rd anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan on Feb. 15, 1989. Recent developments are hastening another liberation -- that of the U.S. from Afghanistan.
We think the return of most U.S. troops -- and the transition of the remainder from a combat to a support role -- can and should happen before the end of 2014, the deadline that President Barack Obama has set.
France’s surprise announcement on Jan. 27 that its troops would move from a combat to a training role this March, and would withdraw by the end of 2013, has had a catalyzing effect. Days later U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said U.S. troops would be in a “training, advise and assist role” by “the mid to latter part of 2013.” Meanwhile, the U.S., the Taliban, and the government of Afghan president Hamid Karzai have stepped up their awkward pas de trois over direct peace negotiations. If all goes well, the U.S. hopes that such talks will be under way in time for the NATO summit in Chicago this May, when members of the coalition will discuss the future of the military mission in Afghanistan.
22-Feb-2012 06:51 PM
Shots fired at anti-US demonstrators in Kabul
Several people have been wounded when shots were fired at hundreds of anti-US demonstrators outside the main NATO base in the Afghan capital of Kabul.
Protests erupted for the second day in response to NATO troops burning copies of the Koran.
Some witnesses say the shots were fired by Afghan police.
"I saw three people with injuries," AFP photographer Shah Marai said, although he could not determine who had fired the shots.
"One was shot in the leg, the other in the arm and a third person had blood on his body."
23-Feb-2012 07:09 AM
The protests erupted after Afghans working at Bagram air base told local residents that a number of copies of the Koran had been burnt. When they carried out the charred pages, waving the evidence in the air, the crowd grew larger and more defiant.
Among those chanting ''long live Islam'' and ''death to America'' were some of the 5000 Afghans who have worked inside the base for years...
...The incident could also complicate relations between NATO forces and the Afghans who perform a variety of non-military functions on bases. The hundreds of Bagram employees who were among the protesters will now have to decide whether to leave their jobs or continue working while disguising their antipathy.
''The people who do this are our enemies,'' said a 27-year-old who has worked at a warehouse on the base for two years. ''How could I ever work for them again?''
23-Feb-2012 07:20 AM
Afghanistan Qur'an burning protests leave seven people dead
Seven people have been killed in Afghanistan as violence spread across the country in a second day of protests against the burning of copies of the Qur'an by foreign troops.
In Kabul an enraged crowd armed with stones and petrol bombs attacked a military base and a nearby compound housing foreign workers, shouting "Death to America".
Police fired into the air and used water cannon to try to control the protesters; security guards in the compound also used their rifles.
Eleven men were taken to hospital in the capital, Kabul, with gunshot wounds and one later died from his injuries, said Kabir Amiri, spokesman for the city's hospitals.
Four others were shot dead when police opened fire on protests in Parwan province, where authorities said demonstrations had become infiltrated by insurgents and extremely destructive. Thirteen were injured. Two others were killed at protests in Jalalabad and central Logar province.
"The constitution gives them the right to peaceful protests, but they were violent and destroying anything in their way, including government buildings," said Parwan province's police chief, General Mohammad Akram Bekzad...
...damage to the Qur'an is a highly sensitive issue in Afghanistan and protests began almost immediately.
"When the Americans insult us to this degree, we will join the insurgents," said Ajmal, an 18-year-old protester in Kabul told Reuters.
Kabul's police chief, Ayub Salangi, came to the most violent protest in the city to appeal for calm. "I am with you, please cool your temper, I am with you," he told the crowd. But protesters turned on him and started throwing stones at his car.
Salangi later told the Guardian that one officer had been injured by protesters who threw stones.
The US embassy ordered all staff to stay inside their compound, and the UN and many other embassies and foreign aid groups halted movements across Kabul.
"The embassy is on lockdown; all travel suspended. Please, everyone, be safe out there," the embassy's official Twitter feed said.
Hundreds of people took to the streets in other parts of Afghanistan to denounce the burning, including at Kabul University, central Logar province, and eastern Jalalabad city, where another five people were injured...
23-Feb-2012 08:11 AM
Really you need to shoot people for being upset at disrespecting their holy book and their religion.
24-Feb-2012 09:51 AM
Two NATO troops killed by Afghan soldier
Pakistani Islamists set fire to the US flag during a protest in Multan on February 22, 2012, over the burning of the Koran at a US-run military base in Afghanistan.
TWO NATO service members were killed by a person wearing an Afghan National Army uniform in Afghanistan on Thursday, as riots over Koran burning raged for a third day.
"An individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against International Security Assistance Force service members in eastern Afghanistan today, killing two service members," the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement...
The incident comes amid a third day of violent protests over the burning of copies of the Koran at a US-run military base.
Thousands of furious Afghans besieged another military base in Mihtarlam, east of Kabul on Thursday senior police official Khalilul Rahman Niazi told AFP.
"People had come from all over Laghman ... they climbed up the walls, they set fire to something there, I think a container," he was quoted as saying.
The Taliban has urged Afghans to attack NATO service members over the Koran burning.
"You should bring the invading forces' military bases under your brave attack, their military convoys, kill them, capture them, beat them and teach them a lesson that they will never again dare to insult the Holy Koran," the Taliban said in a statement...
On January 20, four French NATO troops also were killed when an Afghan soldier opened fire in eastern Afghanistan.
24-Feb-2012 09:53 AM
They say this happened somewhere in the desert of Arizona, but you do have to wonder if this incident really happened in Afghanistan. A method of reducing the war toll: pretend that soldiers died in the US instead of Afghanistan.
Seven US Marines killed in chopper collision in Arizona
SEVEN US Marines were killed when two helicopters collided near Yuma, Arizona, today, FOX News Channel confirmed.
The Marines, from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, based at Miramar, California, were taking part in a training exercise when their AH-1W "Cobra" and UH-1Y "Huey" helicopters collided in midair, the US Marine Corps said in a statement.
The collision occurred in a remote area of the Yuma Training Range Complex at about 8pm local time...