Photo by Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images.
As many as seven U.S. service members face disciplinary action, though not criminal charges, for their roles in the burning of Qurans and other Islamic holy texts in Afghanistan in February, the Associated Press reports.
One Navy service member and six Army soldiers face disciplinary action, which, NBC News explains, could range from a letter attached to their file to a reduction in rank. As many as 12 U.S. troops were involved in the chain of events that led to the burning, which set off a string of riots and further frayed an already strained U.S-Afghan relationship.
Recommendations for punishment were included in a report on the incident by a U.S. military investigation, which was submitted to the Pentagon more than a week ago and leaked to the media late Tuesday night. The investigation is still classified, and no final decisions have yet been made.
In February, Qurans and other Islamic texts confiscated from detainees at the Parwan Detention Facility ended up in the fire pit used to incinerate garbage at the Bagram Air Field near Kabul. The burning set off days of riots throughout the country that resulted in more than 30 deaths, including six American troops.
A preliminary investigation in March by U.S. and Afghan officials found that there had been no deliberate attempt to desecrate the religious texts. Regardless, the incident did little to placate popular perceptions among Afghans that U.S. troops have little respect for the country’s religion and culture. While U.S. officials have maintained that the incident was an accident, many Afghan officials claim it was deliberate.