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After alleged Koran burnings, Afghanistan forces to get new training

February 21, 2012 | 12:50 pm

After reports that the Koran was being burned on a U.S. military post north of Kabul spurred protests by residents, American military officials in Afghanistan said all forces there will be trained on how to properly handle religious materials.

Protests erupted outside the Bagram base in Parwan province after Afghan laborers alleged that copies of the Koran were being burned early Tuesday morning.

The U.S. Marine Corps general who commands Western forces in Afghanistan apologized and promised a full investigation of the incident, saying it was accidental.

PHOTOS: Afghans protest alleged Koran burning

Going a step further, Gen. John R. Allen ordered training for all coalition forces in Afghanistan on how to identify religious materials, their significance and how to handle and store them.

Copies of the Koran may be buried or released into flowing water, Islam experts told the Washington Post, but Afghan religious leaders said usually they do not dispose of them at all.

The training will be completed by March 3, military officials said.

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Afghans protest disposal of Muslim holy books at U.S. base [Video]

-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Video: Afghans protest the burning of Muslim holy books at a U.S. base north of Kabul. Credit: Associated Press

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