US Military apologizes for dropping offensive propaganda leaflets in Afghanistan

KABUL: A commander of the US military in Afghanistan on Wednesday apologized for dropping propaganda leaflets in Afghanistan that were deemed offensive to Islam.

The military dropped the leaflets, designed to call on Afghans to cooperate with the military against the Taliban, on Monday night in Parwan Province.

The leaflet featured an image of a dog holding a flag of the Taliban militant group. The Taliban flag bears a passage from the Quran.

“Local people are very upset with this incident, and they want the perpetrators brought to justice,” Shah Wali Shahid, deputy governor of the province said, according to a report by the Time.

According to the deputy governor, demonstrations were expected across the province.

The US military quickly apologized after the uproar. Major General James Linder released a statement that said “the design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam.”

“I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide. There is no excuse for this mistake,” Linder said, adding that an investigation would be held “to determine the cause of this incident and to hold the responsible party accountable”.

The leaflet portrays a picture of a lion and a dog, and urges people to report insurgents to the authorities. “Take back your freedom from the terrorist dogs and cooperate with coalition forces so they can target your enemy and eliminate them,” it said.

The US forces have largely struggled in the last 16 years to convince ordinary Afghans to help them defeat the Taliban. Various instances of US Military hurting religious sentiments of the local population have emerged over the years.

Afghanistan is a deeply conservative country and any alleged blasphemy can likely spark riots.

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