A suicide bomber attacked Bagram Air base in Afghanistan hours after a US Army general apologized for dropping leaflets that offended many Muslims. The explosion occurred at the front gates of the military base, near Kabul, causing multiple casualties, but not deaths. The terrorist attack came only a few hours after Major General James Linder took to media to apologize for leaflets they had dropped from helicopters depicting a dog under a Taliban flag bearing words quoted from the Quran, "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God," which is a popular expression of faith known as shahada.
In Islam, dogs are considered dirty animals and to put a quote from the Quran on such an animal was deemed overtly offensive by many Muslims and the attacks were reportedly in retaliation for this act as Taliban Islamic terrorist group claimed responsibility via their Twitter mouthpiece.
James Linder, the US special operations commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement: "I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide. There is no excuse for this mistake."
Military officials stated that the base came under attack at 5:38 p.m. local time and that it had resulted in a small number of casualties, adding that the base has since been secured and the incident was under official investigation.
While the leaflet's intent was good, the use of a dog with Quran scripture written on it was apparently out of line. The leaflets were to inform locals that they can have their freedom from the Taliban and other terrorist groups if it helped the coalition forces find them and eliminate them.
Spreading propaganda leaflets is an integral part of military psychology operations (psy-ops), and has been commonly used by coalition forces in Afghanistan. In August, planes dropped leaflets on Ghazni province saluting all Taliban fighters on the occasion of Eid. The message included a picture of the late Taliban leader Mullah Mansour, who was killed in 2016, seemingly trying to imply that he was still alive and that their current leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, was illegitimate.
The latest attack comes only weeks after President Trump announced new direction on dealing with the conflict in Afghanistan in which he essential said they the US would be changing their focus from rebuilding nations to going directly after the lives of terrorists instead. He also said that Washington would no longer be providing actual troop counts to the public as this information can be used against them by the terrorists.
In several reports out of the Pentagon recently, they stated that there were over 11,000 American troops in Afghanistan, which is more than 2,500 more than they had previously reported. Experts believe the true number of deployed troops is far greater than even these latest numbers from the Pentagon.
Bargram Air base was also under local scrutiny in 2012 when Afghans working inside the base noticed burned copies of the Quran in the trash. Widespread outrage over the incident was sparked leading to nationwide protests and resulting in dozens of deaths, to include four US military troops.Posted in News and filed under Military, Muslim.