World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Afghan Riots Not Tied to Report on Quran Handling

Afghan Riots Not Tied to Report on Quran Handling, General Says
Army investigating allegations of mishandling at Guantanamo Bay facility

By Jacquelyn S. Porth
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington – The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says a report from Afghanistan suggests that rioting in Jalalabad on May 11 was not necessarily connected to press reports that the Quran might have been desecrated in the presence of Muslim prisoners held in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Air Force General Richard Myers told reporters at the Pentagon May 12 that he has been told that the Jalalabad, Afghanistan, rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else.

According to initial reports, the situation in Jalalabad began on May 10 with peaceful student protests reacting to a report in Newsweek magazine that U.S. military interrogators questioning Muslim detainees at the Guantanamo detention center “had placed Quran s on toilets, and in at least one case flushed a holy book.” By the following day the protests in the city had turned violent with reports of several individuals killed, dozens wounded, and widespread looting of government, diplomatic and nongovernmental assets.

However, Myers said an after-action report provided by U.S. Army Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, commander of the Combined Forces in Afghanistan, indicated that the political violence was not, in fact, connected to the magazine report.

Meanwhile, Myers said the U.S. military has assigned Army General Bantz Craddock to investigate allegations about the handling of the Quran at Guantanamo. Craddock brings the full weight of his responsibility as commander of the U.S. Southern Command to this effort.

Myers said the International Committee of the Red Cross has approved the edition of the Quran that has been distributed to Muslim detainees in Guantanamo. Craddock has been investigating the claim that proper respect was not given to the Koran. There are now some 550 enemy combatants at the military installation, which is designed to isolate individuals whom the military has identified as likely to have valuable intelligence about international terrorism.

Craddock and his team have examined the prisoner interrogation logs and Myers said “they cannot confirm yet” that there ever was a case of a U.S. interrogator flushing a Quran down the toilet. He did say there is another unconfirmed log reference to a guard report that a detainee tore pages from the Quran and flushed them in an attempt to flood the holding area as a form of protest.

Myers answered questions about the alleged Quran incident on the same day that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed the issue during an appearance before the House International Relations Committee.

She said disrespect for the Quran will never be tolerated by the United States and such disrespect “is abhorrent to us all.” Pakistan has voiced its concerns about the alleged incident, and Rice said the United States understands and shares the concerns of its Muslim friends. She went on to voice this request: “I am asking that all our friends around the world reject incitement to violence by those who would mischaracterize our intentions.” (See related article.)


At the Pentagon, Myers was also questioned closely about the increase in violence in Iraq in recent weeks. He acknowledged that there has been “a spike in violence in early May,” but he said this is to be expected given the “very violent insurgency” that is under way in that country.

The insurgency’s use of a variety of roadside and car bombs has been difficult to thwart, the general said. He also noted the difficulty of sealing Iraq’s borders against infiltrators. On this “we need cooperation from Iraq’s neighbors” -- an issue that is being pursued vigorously, Myers said.

Most insurgencies have a lifespan of three to nine years, Myers said, and addressing them militarily requires patience. In this case, the insurgents are out to discredit the newly formed Iraqi Cabinet, he said.

Myers made his remarks during an appearance with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and other senior military and civilian officials to talk about the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure recommendations, which will be formally unveiled May 13.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN Rights Office On Syria: The “Monstrous Annihilation” Of Eastern Ghouta

Since the Syrian Government and their allies escalated their offensive against opposition-held Eastern Ghouta on 4 February, there have been more than 1,200 civilian casualties, including at least 346 killed and 878 injured, mostly in airstrikes hitting residential areas... Ninety-two of these civilian deaths allegedly occurred in just one 13-hour period on Monday. More>>


Cyclone Gita: 70% Of Tonga Population Affected

The full scale of destruction is beginning to emerge from Tonga in the aftermath of the severe tropical cyclone Gita. Around 50,000 people, or almost 70% of the country’s population, have been affected, a third of whom are children. More>>


Gita: Samoas Clean Up After Being Swamped By Cyclone

Apia in the wake of Gita Photo: Rudy Bartley The clean up is continuing in the two Samoas after Tropical Cyclone Gita hit on Saturday morning. More>>


Grand Coalition : Germany's two main political parties set to govern under Angela Merkel.

The liberal-conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) negotiated through the night in a marathon final push to nail down an agreement. More>>

80 Passengers: Kiribati Ferry Disaster

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working with the Government of Kiribati to support children, families and communities affected by the recent Butiraoi ferry disaster. More>>


Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike. Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures. More


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC