'Do they test our patience?': Afghan citizens respond to US ‘dog’ leaflet
"Since 2001, up to 136,000 US troops have been deployed to Afghanistan, but they were not successful in achieving their goals. It is because of such negative acts. If foreign troops continue to disrespect the holy Koran and holy Islam, they will encourage Afghans to fight against them," a member of a provincial council in the Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan told RT's Ruptly video agency.
The man was referring to the latest incident involving US troops, in which they distributed a brochure showing a dog with a section of the Taliban's flag and a passage from the Koran superimposed on its side. The leaflet with the animal, which is considered unclean in Islam, was meant to urge people to report insurgents to authorities.
A senior US military commander has apologized for the leaflet, saying that its design "mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam."
"I heard, the NATO commander is sorry for the action. But how many times will they say, 'Sorry'? If the saying-sorry formula is used again and again, it will not work. Afghans are religious people, they sacrificed themselves to defend their beliefs. These actions shouldn't be repeated in the future," the provincial council member said.
The Afghan man pointed out that while the US-led international troops in his country are meant to help defeat terrorists and "support the strengthening of the government... sometimes they perform acts that anger" the locals. He referred to earlier incident in which the US "disrespected the holy Koran at Bagram base." Copies of the Koran were once mistakenly burned at the American base alongside damaged books and texts from the airfield's library.
"Now, they conduct propaganda in a way which disrespects holy Islam and causes anger among Muslim Afghans," he said, adding: "Why do they perform such actions? Do they test the patience of Afghans or try to encourage Afghans to rise up against them? Such disrespect to the religion of the Afghans will cause a rise of hostility of the people toward them. They should seriously attempt to stop such actions."
Another man in the city of Jalalabad told Ruptly that the incident made him doubt the officially stated goals of America's presence in his country.
"The US is here to secure their interests, but not for rebuilding Afghanistan. They perform annoying deeds to test the level of national pride of Afghans. They want to know, will we act in defense of Islam or not," he suggested.
"If such actions continue, the Islamic soul of the people will be awakened. They will start holy war [jihad] against foreigners and the result will be very bad, both for the Americans and the Afghans," another man in the streets of Jalalabad told Ruptly, adding that he urges US troops in his country "to respect the religious values of the Afghans."
Following the incident with the leaflets, a Taliban suicide bomber detonated a device outside the US largest military facility in the country, the Bagram airbase. The bombing is believed to be a response to the US brochure, which the Taliban described as displaying America's "hatred" for Islam.