Afghan Protests Show No Sign Of Letting Up

Riots continue to sweep across Afghanistan in the wake of the revelation that copies of the Quran were burned at an American military base last week.


Riots continue to sweep across Afghanistan in the wake of the revelation that copies of the Quran were burned at an American military base last week.

Muslims believe the Quran is so sacred, one must wash their hands before touching it. Desecration of the book is seen as a grave offense--burning it is seen as an act against God.

Attempts by the president and U.S. officials to diffuse the violent outbreak have had a negligible effect, as violent protests show now sign of easing up. The death toll continues to rise for U.S. troops and Afghan citizens alike, while scores of people have been wounded in attacks all across the country.

Afghan officials and religious leaders have called for an end to the violence, expressing fears that extremist groups would use the anger of the protesters for their own ends.

Several people were killed Monday when a car bomb was set off at an airport in eastern Afghanistan.

Worries that the Taliban would take advantage of the situation appear to be actualized, as the group has claimed responsibility for Monday's attack, as well as the deaths of two U.S. military officers Saturday. The two men are among the four Americans killed so far.

A U.S. lieutenant colonel and major were found in dead Saturday, both shot in the back of the head. The bodies were discovered in an office inside the heavily-fortified Interior Ministry, leading Afghan officials to believe the killer was an employee of the ministry.

Afghan police are searching for the suspect. In an unprecedented move, hundreds of NATO advisers have been called away from Afghan ministries as a safety precaution. U.S. advisers were ordered earlier in the week to remain within the U.S.embassy compound.

However, the White House said Monday that the violence in Afghanistan would not speed up their troop withdrawal timeline.

Seven U.S. service members were wounded Sunday amid the latest rash of protests by enraged Afghans. Sunday's demonstration began peacefully before deteriorating into violence; protests reportedly threw a hand grenade at a U.S. base, injuring military personnel believed to be Special Forces.

Two U.S. solders killed Thursday were identified over the weekend as Army Sgt. Joshua Born, 25, and Cpl. Timothy Conrad, 22. Both men were assigned to the 385th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade out of Fort Stewart, Georgia. The men were shot during a protest by a man in an Afghan National Army uniform.

"The people have the right to protest peacefully, but I appeal to my countrymen not to resort to violence," Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in a statement, saying he too felt the pain of the Quran's debasement, but wished for citizens to wait for an investigation into the incident to be completed. He has called on the U.S. to prosecute those found responsible.

In a letter to Karzai Thursday, President Obama said the U.S. government intends to do exactly that.

"We will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, including holding accountable those responsible," Obama wrote.

Gen. John Allen, the commander of NATO's ISAF, says it was a tragic error, that copies of the Quran were inadvertently burned when mistakenly taken to a garbage burn pit.

""It was not a decision that was made with respect to the faith of Islam," Allen said. "It was a mistake. It was an error. The moment we found out about it, we immediately stopped and we intervened."

A military official has said the copies of the Quran burned had been removed from the detainee center's library in the first place because they were being used to "facilitate extremist communications," but were not meant to be discarded in the manner they were.

An Afghan religious scholar tells CNN even if the Quran burnings were a mistake, it did not lessen the severity of the action.

"I can't tell you whether Americans intentionally burned the copies of the holy Quran to make Muslims angry or if they did it mistakenly," Anayatullah Baligh told CNN, but " [their] carelessness" was "a crime they have committed against the holiest book of 2 billion Muslims around the world."

A senior Pentagon official addressed U.S. Muslims Friday, making a speech at the ADAMS Center near Washington D.C., one of the largest mosques in the country. In the speech, Peter Lavoy apologized to the Muslim community numerous times, and promised a thorough investigation.

The executive director of the ADAMS Center said the session with Lavoy was partially intended to show Muslims worldwide that U.S. Muslims were going to maintain a civil dialogue over their concerns about the incident, and not resort to violence.

"Absolutely the violence we have seen is unacceptable from an Islamic perspective," Imam Mohamed Magid said.

Outraged Afghans have called for foreigners to leave their country, many saying if U.S. forces are going to incite violence rather than bring peace, they have no business remaining in Afghanistan. Some have called for the offenders to face a public trial.

Others have gone a step further, with many protests featuring those chanting sentiments such as "Death to America."

Not all Afghan citizens have reacted with violence; protests in northern provinces largely remained peaceful.

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  • by ER on Mar 3, 2012 at 01:49 PM Will you kids stop fighting?
  • by LedHed Location: Colorado Springs on Mar 2, 2012 at 06:11 AM
    Well "Anonymous", I guess any source that still followed the story, let's say a year or more after the incident occurred that doesn't have a vested interest in railing against the govt. to justify it's existence will suffice. And if this is the same individual that wants me to provide a link proving that these claims are fictional, I'm sorry the burden of proof is on you, not me. Funny how that works, it's even a sound enough policy for our judicial system to have adopted, you should investigate it sometime...
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 2, 2012 at 10:35 PM in reply to LedHed
      So if Eric Holder was involved in an OKC murder cover up and the family went to trial and won but never collected it would be untrue because no one was talking about it a year or more later?
      • reply
        by LedHed on Mar 3, 2012 at 06:16 AM in reply to
        Here's your shot: link me to the trial (and no far-out, whack-job site/s either), and I'll hear you out, but if it's another hare-brained rant from the lunatic fringe, rest assured I'll consider it as such and render your opinions not only moot, but worthless.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Mar 3, 2012 at 01:43 PM in reply to LedHed
          OK but please tell me what sites would be acceptable for you. There must be some news sites that you find to be trustworthy.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 29, 2012 at 04:30 PM
    So, why didn't all of the bombs go off? It's like Building 7; something didn't go as planned that day. Had the bombs gone off, media coverage of the unexploded stuff wouldn't have been necessary.
  • by @ledhed on Feb 28, 2012 at 12:57 PM
    You forgot to mention The New York Times in your list.
    • reply
      by Anne on Feb 29, 2012 at 01:42 PM in reply to @ledhed
      Forget it. hed of led doesn't want to listen.
      • reply
        by LedHed on Mar 1, 2012 at 01:34 PM in reply to Anne
        "@ledhed" means they're an unreliable source too, sorry that perplexed you, try to keep up next time...
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Mar 1, 2012 at 06:22 PM in reply to LedHed
          What source would you recommend?
  • by LedHed Location: Colorado Springs on Feb 28, 2012 at 07:49 AM
    BTW, I Googled the incident (and the conspiracy theories that have swirled around it since it occurred), and its funny how its "Mother Jones", "", "what" and other "sources" that certainly have a vested interest in ginning-up such events for personal gain (gotta rail against something!) that are the ones bandying about theories (and hyperbole) without providing concrete specifics. Strike three; and you didn't even swing! Later...
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM in reply to LedHed
      CBS News not good enough? That's where it originated.
      • reply
        by LedHed on Feb 29, 2012 at 07:56 AM in reply to
        Did CBS doggedly research and pursue the story? (would've been the scoop of the century). No, because it was determined to be false, and thus, not newsworthy. Journalism 101: facts trump hyperbole and conjecture every time, and if you want to keep your credibility, you don't manufacture reports or gin-up events just to have something to report.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Feb 29, 2012 at 11:56 AM in reply to LedHed
          Now show us the link in which it was determined to be false. Denial doesn't count
  • by RJ Location: COS on Feb 27, 2012 at 01:43 PM
    When the next Oklahoma City anniversary arrives you can bet that you will hear nothing about the undetonated bombs, just the official McVeigh story.
  • by @ledhed on Feb 27, 2012 at 10:27 AM
    The moral of the story is that the bombs in OKC were never reported on the national news. Most people are unaware of that side of the story. Why?
    • reply
      by AJ on Feb 27, 2012 at 10:36 AM in reply to @ledhed
      Since the FBI was involved in the 1993 bombing as reported by Dan Rather on CBS, why would you doubt their involvement in 1995?
    • reply
      by LedHed on Feb 28, 2012 at 06:06 AM in reply to @ledhed
      Because it was untrue? It's up to YOU to prove your claims, so tangible, verifiable evidence please? I'll wait...
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Feb 28, 2012 at 07:18 AM in reply to LedHed
        Dan Rather. CBS. 1993. FBI Involvement. WTC Bombing. Do you have a computer? Can you do a search and find the video instead of claiming it's not true?
        • reply
          by LedHed on Feb 28, 2012 at 07:24 AM in reply to
          Isn't this the same Dan Rather that was exposed for his "journalistic" efforts to discredit Dubya's military service, and he basically resigned in shame? If that's your source, nice try. And I've seen videos pertaining to this and while they were newsworthy initially in the fog of the incident, they've also been widely discredited. Two swings, two misses; one more and yer' out!
  • by Quran on Feb 27, 2012 at 08:39 AM
    Lets all buy a Quran, tear the pages out and scatter them all over town. Stop disrespecting our people and we will respect your book of lies! Enough bus enough. Those people are idiots!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 27, 2012 at 06:34 AM
    "do the best you can every day, be friendly and introduce yourself to your neighbor" Well if there isn't anything saying what is good or bad, why should I be good to others? You? Don't we have an elevated sense of importance, don't we?
  • by spanky Location: cos on Feb 27, 2012 at 06:18 AM
    turn the place into the world's largest glass ashtray
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