Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Administrative discipline recommended in Koran burning

WASHINGTON — A U.S. military investigation is recommending that as many as seven U.S. troops face administrative punishments, but not criminal charges, in the burning of Korans at a U.S. base in Afghanistan in February, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing unnamed U.S. military officials.

The officials said the classified report and recommendations for disciplinary action against the service members involved were delivered to the Pentagon more than a week ago.

The officials said one Navy service member and as many as six Army soldiers could face nonjudicial disciplinary actions, which can range from a letter in their file to docking their pay or assigning them additional duties.

The lack of any criminal charges is in line with early assertions from military officials that the incident was a mistake. But it is likely to anger Afghans who were enraged by the burning.

Thousands took to the streets in deadly riots after it happened. More than 30 people were killed, including two U.S. troops and two U.S. military advisers.

The Korans and other Islamic books were taken from the Parwan Detention Facility, and officials believed that extremists being detained there were using the texts to exchange messages. A preliminary investigation concluded in early March that while mistakes were made in the burnings, there was no intent to desecrate religious materials.

Attack in Afghanistan: Militants stormed a NATO military base in southern Afghanistan and attacked a police checkpoint Tuesday, a day after gunmen in police uniforms killed a U.S. soldier. In the attack on the base, several U.S. troops were wounded and officials believe coalition forces killed seven or eight insurgents, a Pentagon spokesman said. Three police officers were killed and nine were wounded at the checkpoint, the Ministry of Interior said. Four militants also died.

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