The recent accidental burning of copies of the Holy Quran by U.S soldiers at the Bagram Air Base in Kabul has triggered mass protests throughout the country. While U.S president Barack Obama has offered a formal apology, Afghan ministers cancelled a planned visit to the U.S and systematic violence has erupted in the country, killing close to 37 U.S soldiers, four from within the Afghan government ministry, prompting the U.S to withdraw advisors and trainers and increase presence in Kabul.
The act has prompted three parallel inquiries; one conducted solely by Afghans, one conducted by the Americans and the third, a joint Afghan-american inquiry into the incident. The inquiries will consist of interviews and investigations of soldiers throwing Qurans and other Muslim religious texts into a burn pit at the military base. However, only the formal U.S military investigation can call for a legal action leading to either a court martial or an administrative punishment. President Obama’s apology to President Karzai has certainly calmed tensions but many Afghans are waiting for the results from the inquiries to be released. It is expected that the recommendations from the reports will formulate a revised, and perhaps a more sensitive, U.S military strategy of engagement with the Afghan people.