Hundreds of Afghans have staged a protest in a district near the capital Kabul to express anger at propaganda leaflets dropped by American jets last week that were deemed offensive to Islam.
The demonstrators denounced the move and chanted anti-US slogans at the rally, which was held in Qarabagh district near Bagram air base on Tuesday.
“The Americans have insulted Muslims through this action and their beliefs and we will not sit quietly by,” said Mir Rahman, a protester. “If the Americans and NATO continue to insult Islam, they will face the same fate that the Russians faced in Afghanistan.”
Mehrabuddin, another protester who, like many Afghans, goes by one name, said, “Apologies on their own will never cure any wound.”
“If the Americans repeat such an insult in future, we will keep up our demonstrations and, if needed, attack Bagram base.”
The leaflets, which were supposed to encourage people in the fight against the Taliban militants, had images depicting dogs carrying a flag of the militant group, which contains religious verses.
US commanders apologized for the leaflets and promised to hold those responsible to account. Major General James Linder acknowledged that the leaflets dropped on September 4 mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam.
The matter has caused severe embarrassment at a time of heightened sensitivity over the separate issue of civilian casualties caused by US airstrikes across the war-ravaged country.
Afghanistan is still suffering from insecurity and violence 16 years after the United States and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror in 2001. The invasion removed Taliban from power, but militancy continues to this day.
In addition, the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has also gained ground and recruited militants across several provinces of Afghanistan over the past few years.