Conflict & Justice

Quran-burning troops face discipline, not criminal charges


Afghan demonstrators during a protest against Koran desecration in Kabul on Feb. 22, 2012.



As many as seven US troops who were involved in the burning of Qurans at a military base in Afghanistan in February will face administrative punishments but not criminal charges, according to an official investigation, the Associated Press reported

"Administrative" actions may include a written reprimand or docked pay, but not job loss or criminal charges, an official speaking on the condition of anonymity told Reuters. American military officials have yet to announce any final decisions regarding the recommendations, according to Reuters. 

More from GlobalPost: Maulavi Khaliqdad, Afghan investigator: Quran burning 'intentional'

Several Qurans and other reading materials were burned in a pit at Bagram air base after guards discovered that prisoners were writing in them as a form of communication, the Los Angeles Times reported. Eleven soldiers were dismissed from their tours in Afghanistan over the incident, which officials said was unintentional, according to Reuters. 

Thousands of frustrated Afghans rioted after the burning, which resulted in the deaths of more than 30 people, the AP reported. Among the victims were two US troops who were shot by an Afghan soldier and two US military advisers who were shot at their desks, according to the AP. 

The relatively light punishments for the soldiers involved could deepen the rift between Afghanistan and the US, as Afghans seek harsher consequences for several American mishaps this year, according to Reuters. 

More from GlobalPost: Afghan clerics demand reparation over Quran burning

Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, a member of Afghanistan's parliament and deputy head of its judicial committee, said that a lack of appropriate punishment would have "dangerous consequences," Reuters reported. 

“The error was inadvertent. I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible,” President Obama said in a letter at the time, according to Stars and Stripes