Burned Qurans Had Already Been Defaced by Afghan Prisoners

Friday, 02 Mar 2012 11:36 AM

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The Qurans inadvertently burned by U.S. troops were previously defaced with extremist messages, military investigators have concluded. The investigators also found that five soldiers were involved in the burnings that set off protests in Afghanistan that left 30 dead and led to the deaths of six U.S. soldiers, The Washington Post reported.

Investigators appointed by Marine Gen. John Allen, the commanding officer in Afghanistan, determined that soldiers removed the Qurans from a prison at the Bagram Air Base after they were found to contain extremist messages, and then placed them in an office. The books were mistaken for trash and taken to a landfill where they were burned, according to the Post.

Officials tell the Post the five soldiers will face reprimands but added their names will be kept secret. “For the soldiers, it will be serious — they could lose rank. But you’re not going to see the kind of public trial that some here seem to want,” a military official in Afghanistan told the Post.

Another official added the soldiers were careless “but there was no ill will.” The findings are unlikely to satisfy Afghan leaders who have demanded harsh treatment for the soldiers.

Nor is the U.S. investigation the last word.

An investigation by Afghan parliamentarians and religious officials is underway as is a third investigation by U.S. and Afghan officials, the Post reported.



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