Incident Leads to New Training for ISAF Troops

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 21, 2012 — All Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force per­son­nel will com­plete train­ing in the prop­er han­dling of reli­gious mate­ri­als in the next two weeks, mil­i­tary offi­cials here report­ed.

Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, ISAF com­man­der, today ordered that all coali­tion forces in Afghanistan com­plete the train­ing by March 3.

Allen issued the order in response to an inci­dent last night in which reli­gious mate­ri­als, includ­ing Qurans iden­ti­fied for dis­pos­al, were inad­ver­tent­ly tak­en to an incin­er­a­tion facil­i­ty at Bagram Air­field, offi­cials said. The inci­dent is under inves­ti­ga­tion.

“On behalf of the entire Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force, I extend my sin­cer­est apolo­gies to the peo­ple of Afghanistan,” Allen said. “To assist us in ensur­ing we have uncov­ered all the facts, I’ve also asked our part­ners from the Afghan Min­istry of Inte­ri­or to assist us with this inves­ti­ga­tion.”

The train­ing will include the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of reli­gious mate­ri­als, their sig­nif­i­cance, and cor­rect han­dling and stor­age.

“Along with our apol­o­gy to the Afghans, is our cer­tain­ty and assur­ance to them that these kinds of inci­dents, when they do occur, will be cor­rect­ed in the fastest and most appro­pri­ate man­ner pos­si­ble,” Allen con­tin­ued. “We’ve been shoul­der to shoul­der with the Afghans for a long time. We’ve been dying along­side the Afghans for a long time because we believe in them, we believe in their coun­try, and we want to have every oppor­tu­ni­ty to give them a bright future.”

From an Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force News Release