Report: NATO Agrees To Let Afghan Government Try Koran-Burning Soldiers
In a development that could chill the dedication of every soldier in the field, the U.S. government has refused to deny reports by the government of Afghanistan that NATO has agreed to have the soldiers who burned copies of the Quran face trial.Last week, Afghan president Hamid Karzai demanded NATO turn over the U.S. troops to be tried in Afghanistan. President Obama subsequently sent a letter to Karzai reassuring him that the troops involved would be punished for their actions.
Part of the three-page letter to Karzai said, “I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies. We will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”
It is unclear exactly what Obama meant by that statement as the White House has not released the full text of the letter. However, the Afghan government may have provided insight into its contents.
Over the weekend, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan government media and information center website posted a joint statement by the delegations assigned to probe the Quran burning incident.
The statement says that two delegations were created to “investigate the circumstances and causes that have led to the inhumane incident.”The statement listed several items, including a demand that the U.S. turn over the authority of the prison in Bagram to the Afghan government to ensure similar incidents do not recur and “calls on the U.S. government to fully and comprehensively cooperate to this end.”
However, the statement used vastly different language when discussing the fate of the U.S. soldiers involved in the incident.
“NATO officials promised to meet Afghan nation’s demand of bringing to justice, through an open trial, those responsible for the incident and it was agreed that the perpetrators of the crime be brought to justice as soon as possible,” the statement said.The wording suggests members of the military could be handed over to an Afghan system that imposes Shariah-related penalties.
WND requests to both NATO and the Pentagon asking for confirmation of the statement by Afghan authorities were not returned.Although the statements apparently were made by the Afghan government Feb. 25, they have received no mention in the mainstream media.Clare Lopez, a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy, said if the statement by the Afghan government turns out to be true, it would be an unprecedented betrayal of our men and women in uniform.“ (oh gee, a Marxist betraying American troops, whodathunkit)
I can’t imagine we would ever do this, what would we charge them with? Are we going to try Americans for crimes committed under Shariah law? I cannot believe our government would go that far,” she said.
Robert Spencer, founder of Jihad Watch, said it was fascinating that the U.S. government has not gotten out in front of this issue and denied the statement.“The administration needs to clarify their stance on this. The longer they wait to deny this the more it has the opportunity to further inflame the Muslim in Afghanistan.”
Spencer said that whether the soldiers end up being turned over to the Afghan government or face court-martial, either decision would set a dangerous precedent.“
"It would be unconscionable either way,” he said. “If they turn them over to the Afghan government for trial then we are endorsing the applicability of Shariah law to non-Muslims in the U.S. military. If they court-martial them then they are adopting those norms as part of the UCMJ. Either way it’s frightening.”
Lopez said that while U.S. officials have made large concessions to appease Muslims, turning the soldiers over to face trial would be over the line.“If they were to allow our soldiers to be tried under a legal system that calls for the death penalty for destroying a Quran, that would be unthinkable,” she said. She said that the silence on the part of U.S. officials has the potential to cause real damage to the morale of troops.
“When the government will not come out with a strong denial of this statement by the Afghan government it has the potential to cause our troops to wonder if the U.S. will truly stand behind and protect them when they are simply trying to do their job,” she said. It appears that the soldiers may not have violated Islamic law at all by their burning of the Qurans.
In a PBS interview, Imam Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at the Islamic Center of Southern California, said it was acceptable to burn the Quran if it was in a state of “disrepair.”
Or being used to pass messages to other terrorists for the purpose of conspiring to murder ISAF troops or escape detention in order to re-join the Taliban to murder ISAF troops.