World Bulletin / News Desk
Mohammad Aasim, governor of northwestern Parwan province, told Anadolu Agency that the leaflets were dropped in the province a day earlier.
“Those behind this unforgivable act should be tried and punished,” he said, adding that the government has launched investigations into the incident.
The leaflets written in Pashto language depict a lion chasing the dog.
It states: “Take back your freedom from the terrorist dogs and cooperate with coalition forces so they can target your enemy and eliminate them.”
Scores of Afghans took to the social media to condemn this rather sensitive matter, with many vowing to hold public demonstrations in various parts of the country.
Sensing the grimness of the matter, the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) were quick to apologize.
“I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide,” Maj. Gen. James Linder of the Special Operations Joint Task-Force Afghanistan, said in a statement.
It noted the U.S. forces conducted a leaflet drop in Parwan on September 5, but the design of the leaflets ‘mistakenly’ contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam.
“There is no excuse for this mistake. I am reviewing our procedures to determine the cause of this incident and to hold the responsible party accountable. Furthermore, I will make appropriate changes so this never happens again”, Linder said.
This is not the first time that foreign forces in Afghanistan have found themselves caught in such situation.
In February 2012, former U.S. President Barack Obama had to apologize for an incident of incineration of the Holy Quran -- allegedly used by Taliban prisoners to write messages to each other -- by U.S. troops at Bagram Base near Kabul.
This resulted in outrage with Afghans besieging Bagram Base, raining it with petrol bombs and stones. After five days of protest, 30 people, including four Americans, had been killed.
Ahmad Jawed Hanafi, head of religious scholars in Parwan, has urged the Afghan government to take stern actions against the latest move of ‘blatant disrespect to Islam’ by the foreign forces.