A high-ranking Pentagon official today apologised to the Afghan leadership for the burning of the Quran by US military personnel and also discussed the reconciliation process in the war-torn country.
In his meetings with the top-brass Afghan leadership including President, Hamid Karzai, US Deputy Defence Secretary, Ash Carter, stressed American commitment to the military mission in Afghanistan and to forge a long-term strategic partnership with it, the Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt John Kirby, said.
In his meetings with Karzai, the Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, and then later with several Afghan parliamentarians, Carter made clear America's firm commitment to work closely with the Afghan government saying the two countries confront common challenges in the region.
"In each of these sessions, Deputy Secretary Carter apologised for the burning of the Quran by US military personnel near Bagram airfield and pledged his full support for a joint Afghan-ISAF investigation into the incident," Kirby said.
Protests had erupted in Afghanistan over reports that the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops had burned copies of the holy book along with other religious material, at the Bagram base, one of the largest US bases in Afghanistan.
"He also discussed regional support for Afghan-led reconciliation, progress made in the growth and development of the ANSF, and the need to continue to apply pressure to the Taliban insurgency throughout the winter months," Kirby said.