Quran Burning at Bagram Air Force Base Causes Unrest in Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan-      On Saturday 2 American advisers with the U.S. military were shot and killed by an unidentified Afghan dressed in an Afghanistan national army uniform, according to new statements released from the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

The shooting occurred at the officer’s room in the heavily secured Interior Ministry that contained security locks. The attacker either worked at the Interior Ministry or else acquired the security code from an Afghan employee.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack even though the full identity of the attacker has not been established since he was not captured.

The gun attack on Saturday is believed to be motivated by anger over the disposal of copies of the Quran that were taken to the incinerator at the U.S. Bagram Air Base last Wednesday. Ahmad Zaki Zahid, Chairman of Provincial Council in Parwan where the U.S. Bagram Airbase is located, said that 60 copies of the Quran were taken to the incinerator after being left behind by Afghan detainees. Approximately half of the Qurans were burned before the other half were retrieved.

“The U.S. military is investigating whether the American military officers ordered the Quran’s to be destroyed because the Afghan detainees were passing extremist messages”  a spokesman from the International Security Assistance Force said last Wednesday.

In the most recent display of anger over the burning of copies of the Quran, Afghan crowds destroyed a provincial governor’s building in Eastern Afghanistan while 5,000 Afghans protested and threw rocks at the U.N. office in Kunduz, a region in the north of Afghanistan. None of the U.N. staff were hurt. Since the Quran burning last Wednesday and the unrest that has ensued throughout Afghanistan, the death toll has risen to 30, which includes mostly Afghan protesters and 4 Americans.

General John Allen, U.S. Commander of Nato’s International Security Assistance Force, pulled all coalition advisers out of Afghan government offices, and made it clear that justice will be pursued. “We are investigating the crime and will pursue all leads to find the person responsible for this attack” he said. “The perpetrators of this attack is a coward whose actions will not go unanswered.”

Afghanistan is an insular Muslim country where tribal allegiances are honored and a strict interpretation of Quran provide the basis for the majority of Afghan society. The Taliban has attempted to exert full control over the country using draconian penalties taken directly from the Quran that reconstructs a narrow 7th century implementation of sharia, a religious and civil code, that is focused on complete submission to Muhammad’s teachings accompanied by conformity to the customs and norms which provide the backdrop for Muslim society.  

Today the U.S. and its NATO coalition partners are simply working to restore order across impoverished Afghanistan and ensure that the Taliban does not re-establish the same type of religious extremist society that drew terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden to the county in the 1990’s, threatening the stability of the entire region. 

The Taliban has traditionally supported the cultivation and trade of Opium throughout Afghan society. Today some U.S. soldiers are currently helping to train for an agriculture mission in Afghanistan by helping Afghan farmers to develop other crops besides opium.

Regardless of the good intentions by the U.S. and coalition partners, the Taliban has used every effort to characterize the role of the U.S. military and NATO as oppositional to Afghanistan’s best interest and hostile to the Muslim faith.

The group urination by U.S. soldiers on dead Taliban soldiers last month coupled with the burned copies of the Quran last Wednesday has fomented anger throughout the country, providing the Taliban with more authority concerning their claims that the United States’ sole role in Afghanistan is to undermine Islam and destroy the Islamic fabric which runs through the country.

The White House responded to the Quran burning using apologetic language. “We apologize to the Afghan people and disapprove of such conduct in the strongest possible terms” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney repeated. ” This was a deeply unfortunate incident that does not reflect the great respect our military has for the religious practices of the Afghan people” Carney said.

President Obama sent Afghan President Hamid Karzai a letter of apology over the burning of copies of the Quran. Although the Taliban are using the Quran burning mishap to strengthen their position in the country, President Karzai urged Afghan protesters to express their emotions through peaceful means.    

Republican presidential candidate and former speaker Newt Gingrich used Twitter to condemn Obama’s letter to Karzai, saying: “It is an outrage that on the day an Afghan soldier murders two American troops, President Obama is the one apologizing.”

Update: 7 U.S. military trainers were injured on Sunday after a grenade was tossed inside their base in nothern Afghanistan.  Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said that one of its own employees is believed to be the gunmen behind the killing of 2 senior U.S. military advisers in Kabul. The Ministry named the suspect as Abdul Saboor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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