02/23/2012, 00.00
AFGHANISTAN
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Afghanistan protests explode over Koran burning, eight dead, dozens wounded

Among the victims are also two NATO soldiers. The protests going on for 48 hours, despite the appeals of President Karzai. AsiaNews sources warn of a possible manipulation by the Taliban. According to the NATO mission in charge, the books were burned by accident. In Kabul, the staff has barred Western diplomats inside the embassies of fear of violence and reprisals.

Kabul (AsiaNews) - Eight dead and dozens injured in the anti-American protests that erupted yesterday after the burning of copies of the Koran in the NATO military base in Bagram (60 km nordo vest-of Kabul). The most violent clashes occurred in the provinces of Khogyani and Nagarhar (north-east of the country), where several men in military uniforms fired at two NATO soldiers. In the southern province of Uruzgan, two people were killed during a gun battle with Afghan military. Incidents between demonstrators and security forces also took place in Kabul .. Despite appeals for calm by Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, the Taliban have urged all people to target and destroy the military bases. AsiaNews sources emphasize that the situation is very tense in the capital with Western diplomats barricaded in the embassies for fear of violence and reprisals.

The burning of the Koran is offensive in Islam and according to sharia (Islamic law) anyone who commits this act of sacrilege worthy of death. However, NATO has said that the gesture was not voluntary. Gen. Cartes Jacobson, ISAF spokesman said that copies of the book were part of a stock of items to be disposed of and were burned by accident. The case exploded after two Afghan orderlies recognized fragments of pages from the Koran in the ashes and communicated the fact to the local religious authorities, who immediately spread the news, sparking a wave of protests.

AsiaNews sources explain that "demonstrations against such an act are normal in an Islamic country. The wrath of the population is a purely instinctive reaction, but the most violent clashes were triggered by extremist groups who are attempting to exploit the fact" . "It 's wrong to say that the people are with the Taliban - he underlines - the Afghans always have always hated the presence of armed foreigners on their territories, be they British, Russians or Americans. But no one wants to return to the regime of Mullah Omar, in which you risked death for a bad haircut or a shave badly done. The people have tried to forget those terrible years and now just want peace and respect for their traditions. "

According to sources, the NATO forces should try to take control of the situation and have greater respect and care of the place that hosts them. This is to prevent the Taliban from transforming this stupid gesture into a weapon to use as currency in the next meetings for peace talks with representatives of the U.S. and Afghan government. "Returning the country into the hands of the Taliban without any guarantees- the source warns - makes these past 10 years of war and especially the sacrifice of thousands of innocent civilian casualties completely meaningless". (SC)

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