Reports of foreign troops burning copies of the Koran has led to Afghan protests outside the main US military base in Bagram.
Around 2,000 angry people gathered in front of the complex as helicopters fired flares to try to break up the demonstration. With the crowd chanting anti-foreigner slogans, this incident could be bad for public relations.
ISAF General John Allen made assurance the allegations would be taken seriously: “I’ve ordered an investigation into the report I received during the night, and we are taking steps to ensure this doesn’t ever happen again. I assure you, I promise you, this was not intentional in any way,” Allen said.
A swift public statement could be necessary to stop the situation escalating.
Desecration of the islamic holy book has caused violence in Afghanistan before. Four Nepalese guards and three foreign UN workers were killed at the UN headquarters in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif last April. That time the anger was sparked by an American Christian fundamentalist preacher burning a copy of the Koran in Florida.