President Obama issued a formal apology Feb. 23 to the president and people of Afghanistan for the burning of the Quran by NATO forces.

Protests began immediately after the destruction of the holy book went public.

According to CNN, officials said the materials were removed from the Parwan Detention Center, which is attached to a NATO military base, because prisoners were using the books to relay extremist messages to other prisoners.

“I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible,” President Obama wrote in a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The burnings took place in the early morning hours Feb. 21 at Bagram Air Base, the largest NATO base in the country of Afghanistan.

Witnesses say they saw soldiers throwing copies of the book into an open pit. When authorities realized the Quran and other religious texts were being destroyed, the fire was immediately extinguished Violence has erupted as thousands protest outside of the Bagram Air Base as well as in provinces across eastern Afghanistan. The protests have left seven dead and many more injured as tensions grow over the situation. Two U.S. soldiers were killed in the uprisings when a man dressed as an Afghan National Army soldier opened fire on NATO troops.

The Taliban has used this latest incident to further spread their message of hate for all things American. “Our brave people must target the military bases of invader forces, their military convoys and their invader bases,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

According to Islamic creed, the proper ways to dispose of the Quran include sinking the text in flowing water or burying the book. For Muslims, the Quran is the literal word of God.

This is the third incident involving U.S. troops to cause an international uproar in two months. In January, video footage of U.S. Marines urinating on deceased bodies in Afghanistan went viral. Pictures of U.S. Marines proudly displaying Nazi paraphernalia were disclosed in February.

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer