UN envoy confident appropriate action will be taken after Afghan Koran incident

21 February 2012

The United Nations today voiced its confidence that the NATO-led military force in Afghanistan will take appropriate action to hold accountable those responsible for the reported burning of copies of the Koran.

An investigation has been announced by the head of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) into the incident, in which troops yesterday inadvertently improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials, including copies of the Koran.

A large number of protesters gathered today in front of Bagram air base, located outside Kabul, according to media reports.

In the wake of the incident, Ján Kubiš, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, met today with Maulawi Qiyamuddin Kashaaf, the Chairman of the Ulema Council of Afghanistan.

Mr. Kubiš, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), expressed his full confidence that ISAF will “rapidly conclude the investigation, take appropriate follow-up action as soon as possible and move quickly to hold people behind this incident accountable,” the mission said in a statement.

He also stressed that the UN deeply respects the Islamic faith, traditions and culture of Afghanistan, and that he shared the concerns of the Afghan people regarding this “sad mistake.”

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UN strongly condemns deadly attack against staff in Afghanistan

The Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have strongly condemned today’s attack in Afghanistan in which a large crowd of demonstrators angry at the burning of a copy of the Koran by a United States group stormed a United Nations compound and killed a number of people, including three UN staff members.