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U.S. Commander Says Koran Burning Creates New Afghan Dangers

U.S. General David Petraeus, the commander of the U.S.-led international force in Afghanistan, says the burning of a copy of the Koran at a small church in Florida has created extra dangers in the mission against the Taliban.

At least 22 people, including seven foreign United Nations staffers, have been killed in Afghanistan since April 1 in three days of violent protests against the Koran burning by an extremist Christian preacher.

In an interview with "The Wall Street Journal," Petraeus described the March 20 burning of Islam's holy book as "hateful, extremely disrespectful, and enormously intolerant."

He added that the anger and violence in Afghanistan over the burning has created an "additional serious security challenge in a country that faces considerable security challenges."

President Barack Obama earlier condemned the Koran burning as an act of "extreme intolerance and bigotry." Obama also condemned those who have killed innocent people in response to the burning.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded that the U.S. Congress condemn the burning, and called on U.S. authorities to prevent any further Koran burning in the United States.

compiled from agency reports