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  • » 02/25/2012, 00.00

    AFGHANISTAN

    Fifth day of protests over Koran burning. UN headquarters in Kunduz attacked



    Toll from unrest rises to 20 dead. Another protester killed in Logar province (eastern Turkey). Afghan workers at Bagram base: U.S. military burned the sacred books of ignoring our pleas.

    Kabul (AsiaNews) - The toll from five-days of protests over the burning of the Koran has risen to 20 dead and hundreds injured. Today thousands of demonstrators surrounded the UN complex in Kunduz (Northern Afghanistan) trying to storm the building guarded by police and army. In Mehterlam, capital of the eastern province of Logar, a crowd of hundreds of people stormed the offices of the governor. In the clashes, police killed a protester.

    Meanwhile, experts say the episode is putting into serious question the image of the U.S. Army and ten years of struggle against Islamic extremism.

    In these days the authorities have collected the testimonies of workers employed in the military base in Bagram to shed light on the incident. From the accounts it emerges that the U.S. soldiers burned copies of the Koran while ignoring the pleas of Muslim workers.

    Jamil Sayed, an Afghan of 22 years, said that last February 20 he was working with other Afghan colleagues in one of the waste disposal areas on the base, when three soldiers arrived on the site aboard a military truck full of books and religious material and have started to throw the contents into the incinerator. "When we realized that they were copies of the Koran - Jamil says - we alerted the driver asking why they wanted to burn the book. The soldier responded by saying that it was material of the prison and they were ordered to discard it". The men plunged their hands into the oven to try to save the texts, some burning their fingers and hands as they pulled eight Koran copies from the fire, he said. The reaction of the Afghan workers scared the soldiers who fled with the still carrying more than half of the box full of copies of the Koran.

     

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    See also

    27/02/2012 AFGHANISTAN
    Koran burning continues to cause violence. Nine dead in suicide attack in Jalalabad
    The target of the attack were American soldiers stationed at the military airport of the city. Six civilians among the victims. AsiaNews sources underline the anti-Western climate on the streets of Kabul, fuelled by Taliban and local media. France and Britain call home the staff employed in the ministries of the Afghan government.

    22/02/2012 AFGHANISTAN
    Bagram: riots and protests over the burning of the Korans in the U.S. base. Calm in Kabul
    AsiaNews sources in Afghanistan define the episode as yet another act of violence against the Afghan people. The events are concentrated in areas outside the capital. In Bagram thousands of people storm the NATO base. U.S. embassy in Kabul closed.

    24/02/2012 AFGHANISTAN
    Protests over the burning of the Koran: 7 dead in Herat, stones launched at presidential palace in Kabul
    Since this morning, hundreds of protesters surrounded the building. Police fired into the air to disperse the crowd. Other demonstrations are in progress in the rest of the country. Obama apologizes to all the people of Afghanistan for the serious mistake of the U.S. soldiers. Death toll reaches 14 victims.

    02/04/2011 AFGHANISTAN - PAKISTAN
    Mazar-i-Sharif, UN attacked: 20 dead. Links to the Florida Koran burning
    United Nations complex in northern Afghanistan the target, in an area considered peaceful. The attack occurred during a protest against the act of the U.S. Pastor Terry Jones, who denies responsibility. Ban Ki-moon "outrageous and cowardly" gesture.

    10/09/2012 AFGHANISTAN
    As Kabul takes over Bagram prison, Clinton spares the Taliban
    The formal handover ceremony between the US and Afghanistan is held today. Although Washington would still like to hold onto some prisoners, Afghan President Karzai says no. Local AsiaNews sources say Afghans want to run things in accordance with their own traditions and culture as a free country. Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton slips on the Taliban, terrorism and 'black lists.' A decade of war might be in the end a waste.



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