US Inquiry Pins Koran Burning on 5 Soldiers

Still seen as accidental, though clerics want a trial, strict punishment
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2012 2:34 PM CST
US Inquiry Pins Koran Burning on 5 Soldiers
Afghan protestors shout slogans in front of the US base at Bagram on Feb. 21.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

(Newser) – The US has completed its promised investigation into the Koran-burning incident at Bagram Air Force Base that plunged Afghanistan into turmoil last week, naming five soldiers as responsible for the debacle, the Washington Post reports. The US says the culprits will be disciplined, but insists the incident was an unfortunate accident. In the investigators' telling, the Korans were confiscated because of extremist messages scrawled within, then kept in an office for safekeeping. But somehow from there they were mistaken for trash, and taken to a landfill.

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The investigation is unlikely to appease Afghan clerics and leaders. "For the soldiers, it will be serious—they could lose rank. But you’re not going to see the kind of public trial that some here seem to want," said one senior official. Indeed, Hamid Karzai himself recently called for a trial. "This evil action cannot be forgiven by apologizing," he said. Clerics have also taken the opportunity to press for the US to hand over control of the Bagram prison to Afghanistan. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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