Obama - 'deep regret' over Qur'an burning

2012-02-23 22:26

Kabul - US President Barack Obama sent Afghan President Hamid Karzai a letter of apology on Thursday over the burning of copies of the Qur'an overseen by a US officer at a US military base, the White House said.

Obama said the incident was unintentional, and Karzai's office said the US president pledged a full investigation, as fierce anti-American protests swept the nation leaving at least 14 people dead including two US soldiers.

In Obama's letter, delivered by US Ambassador Ryan Crocker Thursday in Kabul, "the president also expressed our regret and apologies over the incident in which religious materials were unintentionally mishandled at Bagram Airbase," National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor said in a White House statement.

Kabul's office said Obama wrote in his letter that "I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident."

"I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies," the letter said.

"The error was inadvertent; I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible," the letter said.

Karzai told members of parliament that a US officer was responsible for the burning that was done "out of ignorance", his office said.

The incident at the US military base at Bagram, north of Kabul, sparked three days of fierce anti-American protests in which at least 12 protesters were killed.

Afghan kills 2 soldiers

Two US soldiers also died when an Afghan National Army (ANA) colleague turned his weapon on them as demonstrators approached a US base in eastern Nangarhar province Thursday, the military and officials said.

"As the protesters approached the American base here an ANA soldier in the base opened fire on American soldiers, killing two soldiers," said the district chief of Khogyani in eastern Nangarhar province, Mohammad Hassan.

The shooter then escaped among the crowd while two protesters were killed and six wounded when the foreign soldiers returned fire, Hassan said.

Nato's US-led International Security Assistance force had announced the deaths of two soldiers at the hands of a man in Afghan army uniform, without identifying their nationalities.

The attack came just hours after Taliban insurgents urged Afghans to kill foreign troops to avenge the burning of the Qur'ans.

Afghanistan is a deeply religious country where slights against Islam have frequently provoked violent protests, and many Afghans are incensed at the discovery of charred Qur'ans at the Bagram base.

  • john.h.viljoen - 2012-02-24 05:24

    The US administration always think sorry fixes everything.the hole they dug is getting deeper and deeper.

      Fred - 2012-02-24 06:27

      The formula for all growth is: recognize the mistake, acknowledge I did it, feel sorry and forgive oneself, and choose to do it differential next time. This applies to all growth. If this formula is not being followed, there's no change or growth.

  • Jameel - 2012-02-24 06:39

    Karzai told members of parliament that a US officer was responsible for the burning that was done "out of ignorance", his office said. Fred how was this accidental ?

      Matthew Nowicki - 2012-02-24 08:32

      look at Fred's comment below and how he describes the book, gives a perfect example of how this can happen out of ignorance.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-02-24 09:10

      It called intent Jameel, ignorance would imply 'without knowledge' and as such lacking intent and a accident. An accident or mishap is an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance, often with lack of intention or necessity. It implies a generally negative outcome which may have been avoided or prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-02-24 10:02

      As part of a drive against relics of Afghanistan's pre-Islamic past, the Taliban destroyed two large statues of Buddha outside of the city of Bamiyan and announced destruction of all pre-Islamic statues in Afghanistan, including the remaining holdings of the Kabul Museum. Was that a accident? Outrage ?People dying ? Next time they burn an American flag(held with utmost regard) can they go out an shoot some people. Peace, tolerance and non-violence seems a hard concept to the followers of all omnipetent Sky Ninja's despite apparently being against the foundations of their teachings. Protest all you want but to me but a book no matter its contents is surely not worth losing lives despite Denzel Washingtons epic performance in Book of Eli.

      Fred - 2012-02-28 07:42

      I see your confusion Jameel.

      Fred - 2012-02-28 07:42

      Matthew, where? Am I missing something?

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