As reported in The Nation on Feb 23, at least eight Afghans have been killed and dozens wounded in clashes between police and demonstrators protesting over the burning of Holy Quran at a US-run military base. The protesters raised slogans “Death to America, Death to Obama” and set fire to an effigy of President Barack Obama. The US Commander in Afghanistan General John Allen admitted that “some religious material including Quran were inadvertently taken to an incineration facility.”

As was expected Gen. John Allen and some other US officials have offered apology and have promised full investigation of the incident, but these routine statements have become too monotonous and boring now, for the simple reason that even when found guilty, the culprits are let off with minor punishment which does not deter others from engaging in such activity in future. This is because Afghan sentiments, even their lives, are not considered sacrosanct.  We know of a gang of US soldiers that killed three innocent Afghans for sport and kept their body parts as souvenirs. We also know that the ring leader of these beasts was given a ten-year sentence with chances of parole in less than ten years which means he could be out even in a year or two. Compare that with 86-year sentence given to Dr. Aafia Siddiqui for attempting to kill American soldiers in which (alleged) attempt no US soldier got even a minor injury. Then there was this case recently when US soldiers urinated at the dead bodies of Afghans and now we have this burning of Quran. 

It is time these murderers and scoundrels, as well as their AIPAC-sponsored patrons left Afghanistan and other regions. They create disasters and tragedies wherever they land, just to return favours to military-industrial complex and other vested interests and earn their living in a most dishonourable manner, with no sense of shame and guilt for their conduct.

S.R.H. HASHMI,

Karachi, February 23.