Afghan-US military inquiry may lead to review of at least five personnel despite concluding burning of texts unintentional ... But a different panel appointed by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, to investigate the incident, has concluded that the burning of the holy books was deliberate. ... "What the Afghan president has requested from US officials and the US military is a trial and punishment."
The NATO panel is still investigating.
US troops could face disciplinary action over Qur'an burning in Afghanistan
March 3, 2012
The Guardian (U.K.)
Staff and agencies
At least five US military personnel could face a disciplinary review following the burning of copies of the Qur'an by American soldiers in Afghanistan.
A joint investigation by senior Afghan and US military officials has concluded that although mistakes were made when troops at Bagram airbase, near Kabul, had burned copies of the Qur'an and other religious literature along with piles of waste paper, there was no intent to desecrate the Islamic religious texts.
A western official said the investigation could lead to a disciplinary review of at least five US military personnel involved.
But a different panel appointed by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, to investigate the incident, has concluded that the burning of the holy books was deliberate.
Maulvi Khaliq Dad, a senior Afghan religious leader on the panel, said US troops told Afghans at the base that the religious materials pulled from a detention centre library were to be stored, but were then sent for incineration.
"They are claiming that it was not intentional. Our investigative team says it was intentional," Dad said.
After the panel presented its findings, Afghanistan's top religious leaders demanded on Friday that those involved be put on public trial and be punished, a position that Karzai backs.
Barack Obama and other US officials have apologised for the incident on 20 February, which triggered six days of riots across Afghanistan. The apologies, which described the incineration as accident, have failed to quell the anger in the country, although the violent protests that killed more than 30 Afghans and six US troops have subsided.
Karzai's office said on Saturday it had only seen the report drafted by the religious leaders and had not yet been given the joint report, so could not comment on it.
"We are waiting for the result of the investigation by Nato, which will probably show who is involved in this and how many people are involved. After studying it we will announce our stance," said a presidential spokesman, Aimal Faizi. "What the Afghan president has requested from US officials and the US military is a trial and punishment."