February 24, 2012

Obama apologizes for Afghan Koran Burning

US President Barack Obama apologised to Afghans over the issue of burning of holy Korans at a military base in Afghanistan, which had triggered tension between NATO troops and Afghans.

Obama is concerned about the rising of anti-American sentiment after the burning of Korans. Meanwhile, two American troops were killed on Thursday in ongoing protests across the country.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the President's apology to Afghan counterpart was rare but appropriate. Obama apologised in a three-page letter to Hamid Karzai on Thursday. Earlier, former White House press secretary Dana Perino had apologized on behalf of the then President George W Bush in 2008 after an official shot the Koran.

The US-led military coalition in its clarification said that the Muslim holy books were sent by mistake to a garbage burn pit at Bagram Air Field. The matter is being investigated.

However, the explanation and apologies from the US army officials did not end the outrage in the country. Thousands of protesters staged demonstrations across the country shouting "Long live Islam!" and "Death to America!"

Hundreds of protesters pelted stones at the troops and at some places they burned tires and American flag. The protests sparked clashes with Afghan police that claimed at least five lives on Wednesday.

The violence erupted at a time when Karzai is trying to hold discussions with the US over a long-term partnership agreement to monitor the US troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

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