Taliban bomber kills nine at NATO base over Koran
AFGHANISTAN: A Taliban suicide car bomber targeting a NATO
base at Jalalabad airport in eastern Afghanistan killed nine people on
Monday, following days of deadly anti-US protests over the burning of
the Koran. Six civilians, an Afghan soldier and two local guards were
killed, police said, but there were no reports of NATO casualties,
according to a spokesman for the US-led International Security
Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the blast, saying it
was in revenge for the burning of Korans at a US military base, taking
the toll in six days of violent protests across the country to around 40
"The foreign forces have insulted our religion and this attack was
revenge," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.
On Sunday, seven US soldiers were wounded in a grenade attack during
an anti-US demonstration at their base in northern Kunduz province,
police said. On Saturday, two US advisers were shot dead in the interior
ministry in Kabul just days after two US troops died as an Afghan
soldier turned his weapon on them as thousands of demonstrators
approached their base in the east.
The US embassy has been in lockdown since the violence erupted, and
has warned of a "heightened potential threat to American citizens in
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday that the deadly
protests in Afghanistan over the burning of Korans by US soldiers "must
"We deeply regret the incident that has led to this protest, but we
also believe that violence must stop and the hard work for building a
more peaceful and secure Afghanistan must continue," she told a news
President Hamid Karzai went on television on the same day to appeal
Karzai condemned "with the strongest words" the treatment of Islam's
holy book and said the perpetrators should be punished, but told his
countrymen: "Now that we have shown our feelings it is time to be calm
and peaceful." He said he respected the emotions of Afghans upset by the
Koran burning in an incinerator pit at Bagram airbase, north of Kabul,
but urged them not to let "the enemies of Afghanistan misuse their
Taliban insurgents have called on Afghans to kill foreign troops in
revenge for the incident, and claimed to have been behind the killing of
the two US advisers in the interior ministry.
The shooting prompted NATO and several European countries to pull
their advisers out of Afghan government ministries, while fallout from
the Koran burnings widened as Afghan ministers cancelled a visit to
The Pentagon said Sunday that Afghanistan's defence and interior
ministers had cancelled a visit to Washington this week to concentrate
on addressing security concerns at home.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "understands why that's a priority
and why they are unable to travel to Washington in the coming days",
Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.
President Barack Obama has apologised for the burning of the Korans,
which officials said were inadvertently sent to the incinerator.
An Afghan government official said the US advisers killed at the
interior ministry had been mocking anti-US protests over the burning of
the Koran in the presence of an Afghan colleague before being shot.
Government sources said police were hunting for an Afghan
intelligence official suspected of killing the two Americans.