US wearing out its welcome in Afghanistan?

According to a story in the Independent, Afghan protests, inspired by the reported desecration of the Koran at Guantanamo, but fueled by US military tactics, are compelling US puppet President Hamid Karzai to rein in the US military in Afghanistan. “The Afghan leader, installed with Washington’s support in 2001 and often derided as an American puppet, seemed to be bowing to a growing mood of popular anger with American military tactics and uneasiness over how long bases will remain on Afghan soil. He promised to correct ‘mistakes’ made by US forces, especially intrusive searches of village homes by American troops in areas where the Taliban insurgency continues.”

Meanwhile, Newsweek is now saying “it had got its facts wrong on a story alleging that American military interrogators had desecrated copies of the Qur’an, after a week of protests about the article left at least 17 people dead and more than 100 injured… The ferocity of the reaction in the Muslim world caught the magazine and the US government by surprise. ‘Westerners, including those at Newsweek, may underestimate how severely Muslims resent the American presence, especially when it in any way interferes with Islamic religious faith,’ the magazine concludes in an article on the protests.”

Newsweek explains that, “Last Friday, a top Pentagon spokesman told us that a review of the probe cited in our story showed that it was never meant to look into charges of Qur’an desecration. The spokesman also said the Pentagon had investigated other desecration charges by detainees and found them ‘not credible.’ Our original source later said he couldn’t be certain about reading of the alleged Qur’an incident in the report we cited, and said it might have been in other investigative documents or drafts. Top administration officials have promised to continue looking into the charges, and so will we. But we regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst.”

According to the Guardian, “International aid workers were furious. ‘It’s unbelievable that they could get something so important so wrong,’ said Nick Downie of Anso, an aid agency security body whose Jalalabad offices were looted and set on fire by protesters.” Unbelievable indeed.

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