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Result of Quran burning probe next week: ISAF official

Result of Quran burning probe next week: ISAF official

Feb 29, 2012 - 19:23

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The outcome of an ongoing probe by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) and the Afghan government into the Quraninfo-icon burning incident would be announced next week, a legal advisor said on Wednesday.

The alleged desecration at the hands of US forces at the Bagram airbase in central Parwan province has sparked violent nationwide protests, leaving at least 30 people dead and hundreds wounded.

Top US officials, including President Barack Obama and ISAF commander in Afghanistaninfo-icon Gen. John Allen, have apologised for the incident, with President Hamid Karzai calling for restraint during demonstrations.

The ISAF legal advisor, who did not want to be named, told reporters in Kabul that the NATOinfo-icon top commander was evincing a personal interest in the investigation into the blasphemous act and had ordered the probe a day after the incident.

He said four separate commissions had launched their investigations into the incident. The bodies include a joint ISAF-Afghan commission, an Afghanistan Ulemainfo-icon Council’s panel, a parliamentary team and a US military committee.

He said the investigation launched by the US troops would take at least 30 days to complete. However, he explained the findings of the ISAF-Afghan probe were expected to be announced next week.

Asked about the sentence the US soldiers would be awarded, if found guilty, the ISAF legal advisor on human rights replied that the punishment ranged from disciplinary action to a possible court-martial trial.

He said the US Army was probing the case under the Army Regulation (AR) 15-6 that establishes an administrative procedure for fact-finding investigations. AR 15-6 investigations gather and consider all the relevant evidence about an incident.

About the joint commission, he said it included representatives from the ministries of interior, defence and the National Directorate of Security (NDSinfo-icon), the Afghan spy service.

Over the past week, the joint team conducted numerous interviewsinfo-icon, inventoried the materials retrieved from the disposal site and investigated them in the DFIP library.

The investigative team’s report will be submitted for a legal review to ensure that it complies with the applicable law and regulations. On completion of the legal review, the report will be sent to Gen. Allen for approval before it is released.

The official ruled out the possibility that the act had been intentional, saying the individuals found guilty of the incident would face action in accordance with US laws, not under Afghan rules.


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