ISAF, Afghan team probes Koran incident

Feb. 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- International security forces are determined the take actions to ensure desecration of Islamic texts never happen again in Afghanistan, an official said.

U.S. Air Force Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, said an ISAF delegation joined Afghan officials in an investigation of the improper disposal of Islamic religious materials, including copies of the Koran, this week.

Anti-American protests erupted across Afghanistan after the incident, forcing the U.S. Embassy in Kabul to go into lockdown.

Allen, in a statement, said the investigation was an "important first step" in resolving the issue.

"The only way we can demonstrate our sincerity to the people and government of Afghanistan is through our actions, and we are already taking measures to ensure this never happens again," he said.

In a Thursday statement, the Taliban warned against falling for "superficial apologies." The group said it was a "religious obligation" to condemn this "unforgivable crime both practically and verbally and back the legitimate struggle of the Muslim Afghans against (foreign forces)."

The incident came as Afghan officials had moved ahead with a national reconciliation program meant to entice members of the Taliban into the political process. The Taliban had said they wouldn't talk while foreign forces are operating in Afghanistan, however.

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