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NATO Head Praises Coalition 'Restraint' During Afghan Koran Protests

A protest last week outside Bagram air base near Kabul, where Korans suspected of being used by prisoners to pass messages were incinerated.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has praised international coalition forces in Afghanistan for showing "remarkable restraint" during recent violence over the burning of Korans by U.S. troops.

Speaking in Washington, Rasmussen praised allied commander U.S. General John Allen for his handling of the violence.

"We must not lose sight of our goal: a stable Afghanistan," Rasmussen said.

Some 40 people were killed during demonstrations across Afghanistan following reports on February 21 that copies of the Koran had been burned at a NATO base.

Two U.S. military officers killed at the Afghan Interior Ministry on February 25 were among the casualties, as were two NATO soldiers reportedly gunned down by "an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform" on February 23.

Allen apologized for what he described as "not intentional" actions at Bagram air base north of Kabul, followed by apologies from U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and from U.S. President Barack Obama in a letter to his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai.

With AP and Reuters reporting

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