The commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, has condemned the threat of a church in Florida to burn the Holy Koran on the September 11 anniversary, saying the Taliban would exploit the demonstration for propaganda purposes, drumming up anger toward the US and making it harder for allied troops to carry out their mission of protecting Afghan civilians.
"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort. "It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community," the Wall Street Journal quoted General Petraeus, as saying.
Hundreds of Afghans attended a demonstration in Kabul on Monday to protest the plans of Florida pastor Terry Jones. The protesters chanted "death to America," and speakers called on the U.S. to withdraw its troops. Some protesters reportedly threw rocks at a passing military convoy.
Meanwhile, Jones, head of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, in Florida has said in a statement that a message needs to be sent that the radical Islam cannot threaten people.
"We understand the General's concerns. We are sure that his concerns are legitimate but we must send a clear message to the radical element of Islam that we will no longer be controlled and dominated by their fears and threats," he added.
Jones has reportedly been denied a permit for the demonstration, but has said he plans to go forward with the protest.
Military officials now fear that if video of the Quran burning is broadcast in Afghanistan, tensions could rise between NATO forces and the Afghan military and police. (ANI)