Obama apologizes for Koran burning in Afghanistan
The soldier was wounded after up to 200 demonstrators hurled rocks at the base and shouted epithets. Norwegian troops responded with warning shots and tear gas. Mr. Moen said the demonstration was over, but new protests are expected tomorrow.
In the city of Baghlan in the north, clashes between police and protesters attacking the police headquarters left one person dead. Police said 10 officers were also wounded, two from gunshot wounds.
Police said another two protesters were killed and six wounded in another exchange of gunfire during a protest in southern Uruzgan province.
The riots erupted Tuesday after Afghan workers at the main American military base, Bagram Airfield, saw soldiers dumping books in a pit where garbage is burned and noticed Korans and other religious material among the trash.
The top U.S. and NATO commander, Gen. John Allen, quickly issued an apology and telephoned Mr. Karzai and major news organizations to explain that a collection of religious materials, including Korans, mistakenly had been sent to be incinerated. As soon as someone realized what they were burning, they stopped and retrieved what was left, Gen. Allen said.
Mr. Karzai also met Thursday with parliamentarians — many of whom had called Wednesday for Afghans to wage a holy war against international forces. He told them that a U.S. officer responsible for the incident “didn’t understand” what he was doing and the United States “accepted the mistake of its officer.”
He commended the U.S. government for “acting quickly regarding this issue and apologizing.” Mr. Karzai said that he was most concerned with making sure that such acts are not repeated.
Four copies of the Koran were burned before the incineration was halted, according to initial Afghan government reports.
NATO and Afghan investigators Wednesday visited the Parwan detention facility from which the Korans were taken. U.S. officials said they had been removed from the shelves of the facility’s library because they contained extremist messages or inscriptions. The White House said it was an accident that they were sent to be burned.
• Associated Press photographer Rahmat Gul in Mehterlam, Afghanistan, and writers Malin Rising in Oslo and Pauline Jelinek in Washington contributed to this article.