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Pentagon probe: Troops burning Korans not an insult, just ignorance

Published time: March 14, 2012 08:38
Edited time: March 14, 2012 16:07
Gunfire wounded at least 26 people during fresh protests in several cities across Afghanistan over the burning of copies of the Koran, Islam's holy book, at NATO's main base in Afghanistan. (REUTERS/Parwiz )

Gunfire wounded at least 26 people during fresh protests in several cities across Afghanistan over the burning of copies of the Koran, Islam's holy book, at NATO's main base in Afghanistan. (REUTERS/Parwiz )

A joint NATO-Afghan probe into the burning of Korans at an American base found no malicious intent behind the act. The mistreatment of the Muslim holy books sparked riots across Afghanistan, which left hundreds wounded and dozens killed.

­The investigation conducted by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and the Afghan Defense Ministry confirmed the “disposal process” of the Korans was improper.  

But it said it was not meant to be disrespectful towards either Islam or Afghans, reports the Washington Post.

“It did find that there were some US personnel who did improperly treat these religious texts, including some of their supervisory personnel,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby said. “And it recommended that they be reviewed for potential disciplinary action.”

The Pentagon chose not to immediately release the investigation report, saying it is linked to other ongoing investigations. There is no decision yet on whether all of the findings will eventually be released, Kirby said.

The spokesman didn’t elaborate on whether the US military would take any policy changes over the fact that its troops, deployed in a predominantly Muslim country, were ignorant about how important the proper handling of holy books is for the local population.

The burning of Korans in a waste incinerator at Bagram Air Field in February incited overwhelming anger across Afghanistan. Violent protests swept through the country, with almost some 40 killed and over three hundred people reportedly injured in the clashes. The Taliban launched a number of attacks on ISAF and Afghan troops, saying it was retribution for the desecration.

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