U.S. and Afghan authorities disagree about whether to not the U.S. military’s burning of Muslim holy books was intentional after a joint investigation that was ordered by Marine Gen. John Allen.
U.S. officials involved in the investigation found it was a mistake involving at least five Americans who may face “disciplinary review.” They claim the books were sent to storage after Afghan detainees were suspected of writing messages in them as a way to communicate. When there was a lack of storage space, the U.S. soldiers burned them in a pit outside the Bagram facility.
But many Afghans dispute this story. Maulvi Khaliq Dad, a top Afghan religious leader who was appointed by President Hamid Karzai to investigate the incident, claimed the burning was intentional.
“They lied to the Afghan workers and the Afghan National Army officers, telling them they were going to store the books in a container, then they went and burned the books. If it was not intentional, they would not have lied,” Dad said. He also disputes the U.S. claim that the scribbles in the books were being used by inmates in a malicious way.
The angry protests that swept across Afghanistan has led to scores of deaths, including several Americans in alleged revenge attacks. The truth of whether the books were burned intentionally is almost irrelevant because Afghans aren’t merely protesting the act of desecration, but rather the violent, cruel military occupation and domination they’ve been subjected to since 2001.