'Kill them,' Taliban says to Afghans

Feb. 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The Afghan people are called on to kill, beat and take international soldiers as prisoners in response to the burning of the Koran, the Taliban said.

The International Security Assistance Force said in a Thursday statement two military personnel were killed in eastern Afghanistan by "an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform."

Anti-American protests erupted across Afghanistan since the U.S. military apologized Tuesday for what it said was the accidental "improper disposal" of religious materials, including copies of the Koran.

The Taliban, in a statement Thursday, said it wasn't satisfied with "mere protests and empty slogans" against the so-called military invaders.

"Kill them, beat them, take them as prisoners and teach them such a lesson that they never summon the courage to abuse the Holy Koran again," the statement read.

The desecration comes amid talks between the Afghan government and members of the Taliban that are part of a national reconciliation effort. Washington said it backs the outreach program as long as the Taliban denounce violence and honor the spirit of Afghan law.

Mark Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said talks should be an Afghan-led process.

"We want to, at some point, step away from this and have it be an Afghan-to-Afghan reconciliation process," he said.

The Taliban have said they wouldn't have serious talks while foreign troops are in Afghanistan.

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