Quran burning row: Two US soldiers shot dead in protestshttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/quran-burning-row-two-us-soldiers-shot-dead-in-protests/

Quran burning row: Two US soldiers shot dead in protests

The killings came hours after the Taliban urged Afghans to target foreign military bases

An Afghan soldier joined protests on Thursday against the burning of copies of the Muslim holy book at a NATO base,and shot dead two American troops,western military sources said.

The killings came hours after the Taliban urged Afghans to target foreign military bases and kill Westerners in retaliation for the burning of the Qurans at Bagram airfield on Tuesday. Eleven people have died in demonstrations across the country since then.

In a demonstration in eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday,an Afghan soldier turned his gun on NATO soldiers,local officials and western military sources said. A provincial spokesman said the soldier then escaped. NATO confirmed a man in Afghan army uniform killed two of its troops in the east,

The Quran burnings at the vast Bagram base north of Kabul,which the United States has said were unintentional,could make it even more difficult for US-led NATO forces to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table ahead of the withdrawal of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.

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The Taliban on Thursday called on Afghans to attack foreign troops,and their spokesman has issued a statement ordering its commanders to embrace and protect the families of any Afghan policeman or soldier who turns his gun on foreign troops. “Call them heroes,” he said.

Meanwhile,the office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai said it has received a letter from President Barack Obama formally apologising for the burning of Qurans.

In the letter,Obama expresses his “deep regret for the reported incident’” and offers his “sincere apologies.” According to the statement,Obama wrote: “The error was inadvertent; I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence,to include holding accountable those responsible.”

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