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Afghans protest burning of Korans at Bagram airbase

[Updated at 8:45 a.m. Feb 23: Man in Afghan army uniform kills two American soldiers]

Afghan laborers at a U.S.-run base discovered copies of the Koran being burned before dawn Tuesday morning, spurring a protest reportedly involving as many as 1,000 people — and an unusually contrite statement from the base’s commanding general. The Bagram district police chief said the workers brought the Muslim holy books outside and “this provoked the local people‘s emotions.”

Gen. John Allen, the U.S. Marine who commands Western forces in Afghanistan, in his statement addressed the “noble people of Afghanistan.”

When officials learned that “a large number of Islamic religious materials” had been improperly disposed of, “we immediately intervened and stopped them,” he said.

Allen said recovered materials would be turned over to religious authorities. He also vowed that the incident would be fully investigated.

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