ISAF Commander Issues Directive on Handling of Religious Materials

KABUL, Afghanistan–(ENEWSPF)–Feb. 21, 2012.  Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, today issued a new directive that all coalition forces in Afghanistan will complete training in the proper handling of religious materials no later than March 3.

The new guidance comes in the wake of an incident that occurred last night at the Detention Facility in Parwan in which religious materials, to include Qurans identified for disposal, were inadvertently taken to an incineration facility at Bagram airfield. The incident is currently under investigation.

“On behalf of the entire International Security Assistance Force, I extend my sincerest apologies to the people of Afghanistan,” said Gen. Allen. “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, 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,” continued Allen. “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.”