Afghanistan, Pakistan Protests against US Koran Blasphemy Spread
The NYT reports that protests in Afghanistan against the alleged US desecration of the Koran spread on Thursday. One student was killed and 4 were wounded in Chak, in Wardak, as police fired on protesters. There were other village demonstrations. A large group of Logiani tribespeople was blocked from marching on Jalalabad.
More demonstrations are expected in both Afghanistan and Pakistan on Friday, the day on which Muslims go to communal prayers. Hundreds of students demonstrated in the capital, Kabul.
IN Pakistan, thousands rallied. About 1000 protesters came out in Quetta. Smaller crowds assembled in Peshawar and Lahore. The Lahore crowds were followers of former cricketer Imran Khan, now a major figure in politics. Some of the agitation in Pakistan is being instigated by the Jama`at-i Islami, Pakistan’s fundamentalist party.
A friend of mine with Pentagon contacts tells a tragicomic story. The Pakistani government complained to the US Department of Defense about the desecration of the Koran. The Pentagon passed the protest to the Southeast Asia division. It looked into the matter in East Asia and responded that it could find no evidence that the US military had flushed a Korean down the toilet.