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NATO says ‘Our bad’ over Quran burnings in Afghanistan

by Brad A. Greenberg

February 22, 2012 | 10:44 am

Supporters of the Jamiat Talba-e-Arabia group chant slogans while burning a U.S flag in Karachi Feb. 22, after the burning of copies of the Koran at NATO's main base in Afghanistan. The words in Urdu on the flag read, "Go, America, go". Photo by REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

NATO officials have apologized for disposing of unwanted copies of the Quran in Bagram, Afghanistan, by burning them. Talk about a mea culpa, via the New York Times:

About 2,000 Afghans descended on the largest American air base in their country in the bitter cold to protest what is generally regarded as one of the most offensive acts in the Muslim world.

“I offer my sincere apologies for any offense this may have caused, to the president of Afghanistan, the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and, most importantly, to the noble people of Afghanistan,” the NATO commanding general, John R. Allen, said in a statement that was recorded and sent to local television and radio networks here, explaining that the burnings had been unintentional.

Within a few hours of learning about the episode, General Allen ordered an investigation, and by day’s end he issued an order for every coalition soldier in Afghanistan to complete training in the next 10 days in “the proper handling of religious materials.”

Unlike the Quran-in-the-toilet international incident at Gitmo, the destruction of these Quran actually appears to have occurred. For once, though, violent rioting didn’t ensue.

For a refresher on what happens when you burn the Quran, click here and here and here.

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