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Missteps in Koran Burning May Unravel Afghanistan

Updated on March 3, 2012

The report is out and it shows how several missteps, indifference and carelessness can cause an explosion of riveting events that could unravel whatever good the US Forces have done in Afghanistan. It is nothing more.

It was suspected that prisoners in the Parwan Detention Center had been passing along terrorist information via their Koran's. American and Afghan soldiers gathered over 1600 books suspected of such nefarious information. That was a lot of books for a small facility.Two Afghan translators who worked for the Americans were in charge of sorting through them and separating them. Among the books, which included some Korans, were other non-religious books that could be used to pass information. According to the Afghan translators, few, if any, of they books they inspected contained terrorist type info, just personal messages for the most part.

Due to a lack of storage at Parwan, it was decided to transport the books to another site for burning.The procedure is to usually allow more time to pass before incineration, which is the last step to do, however, for whatever reason, those in charge decided that over 1600 books is too pressing. As the books sat in boxes waiting for movement by truck, some Afghans there did noticed that some of the books were Koran and when they asked, they were told they were going to offsite storage. One Afghan officer there was informed.

By the time the Afghan officer informed his US officer counterpart and by the time the US officer went to inspect the books for himself, the trucks were long gone, driven by three US soldiers who knew nothing about what they were transporting. They were simply on a work detail ordered by their superior.

At the burning site, as the books were being tossed into flames, one Afghan who worked for the US there, noticed not all of the books were non-Koran types, in fact, as a Koran was burning he retrieved the book and quickly told other Afghans that Americans were burning the Koran! Now, the Americans took noticed and helped retrieved other Korans from the fire. In total, only four Korans were burned before the discovery was found.

Totally accidental. However, the Afghan mullahs now what the US soldiers to be tried in Afghan court, well, we know what would happen there-stoning or beheading. I guess they do not believe in errors. Luckily, there is no way in hell the US will hand over the three low level soldiers to them. The worst that will happen to them will be either reduction of rank or loss of pay.

But, even to that, I say why? As the US officer stated, these three men had no clue what was in the boxes, only that they were ordered to transport them and then burn them. It was a simple work detail to them. I say, it is the officers in charge that should be held accountable for the lack of timely communication and procedures.

In any case, Afghanistan still is outraged. The Taliban are using it to stir up riots and anti-Americanisms. Americans are sick of them. The trust between them is bad. Afghans turn their weapons on innocent Americans. This could be a fatal blow and a nail in the coffin for the 10 year Afghanistan war that did little and went nowhere.


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