by Rick Moran
The incident was the result of the soldiers "misinterpreting" their orders. LA Times:
A U.S. military investigation into the burning of the Muslim holy book in a trash pit in Afghanistan last month found that several enlisted soldiers had misinterpreted an order to dispose of the Korans, two officials familiar with the findings said Friday.
The investigation found that five U.S. soldiers were responsible for confiscating the Korans and other religious materials from a U.S.-run detention facility near Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, and dumping them in a pit used to incinerate trash.
News of the incident sparked attacks that killed six Americans and riots that left more than 30 people dead. Hundreds of Western military and civilian advisors working at Afghan government offices were withdrawn by embassies and NATO commanders as the crisis grew.
U.S. officials said several of the soldiers, who have not been publicly identified, are likely to face disciplinary proceedings. Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has not yet made a decision on punishment, the officials said.
Allen was briefed on the investigation late this week, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the findings, which have not been made public.
The riots and violence appear spent for now. Friday prayers, the most important religious event of the Muslim week, passed without more protests breaking out.
The military investigation largely supports official U.S. claims that the burnings were inadvertent.
This is not over - not by a long shot. In fact, since it is not likely there will be a "public trial" of the soldiers, the Afghans are set to go ballistic once again:
A group of politically powerful Muslim clerics met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and demanded a public trial in an Afghan court of the U.S. troops involved, Karzai's office said.
The clerics denounced the Koran burning as an "inhumane, savage act" and said no apology would suffice, the presidential palace said.
In releasing the clerics' statement, Karzai appeared to be seeking leverage for his demand that the detention facility at Bagram be handed over to Afghan control. His office quoted the clerics as demanding "the closure of prisons run by foreigners."
Karzai is shamelessly - and dangerously - exploiting this incident for all that it's worth. He is being outdone by the clerics who see political advantage in maintaining an extremist position on the inadvertent burning.
Nice bunch we're allied with, don't you think?Rick Moran
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