US burning of Koran was intentional, Afghan investigator says
The burning of the Koran at a US military base in Afghanistan was intentional, a member of the investigating team told dpa Monday.
"We believe it is intentional," said Maulavi Khaliqdad, a member of the panel established by President Hamid Karzai.
"If they burnt one or two copies, then we could have said it could have been a mistake. But they took hundreds of such books to burn. Everyone knew those were religious books."
News that US soldiers in Bagram airbase north of Kabul had burnt copies of religious books including Koran last month caused violent protests nationwide.
International military officials apologized and said it was "unintentional." US President Barack Obama also sent a written apology to Karzai.
But despite apologies and calling for calm by Karzai, more than 30 protesters were killed in the ensuing violence.
Six US soldiers were also killed in apparent revenge attacks by their Afghan allies, including two US military advisers who were murdered inside the fortified Interior Ministry building.
Khaliqdad said the team's finding that the burning was intentional has been presented to Karzai and parliament.
"It is impossible if you collect that many books from library ... Someone is responsible for this," he said. "We cannot accept that they say it was a mistake."
"A mistake is when someone does something without any knowledge or when someone is unaware," said Khaliqdad, who is also a member of religious Ulema Council of Islamic scholars and mullahs.