Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander of the Afghanistan War, said today the planned burning of Korans by a Florida church could put American troops in danger.
“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort,” Petraeus told the Wall Street Journal. “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.”
Petraeus’ comments come in the wake of anti-American protests in Kabul. Earlier today, 500 demonstrators, including members of parliament and Muslim clerics, gathered outside the U.S. embassy to condemn the “International Burn A Koran Day” planned by the Dove World Outreach Center, a small church in Florida. Protesters burned the church’s pastor, Terry Jones, in effigy and called for “Death to America.”
A similar protest, reportedly attracting thousands of Muslims, was held this weekend in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Petraeus said the Koran-burning, planned for Sept. 11, could give the Taliban the kind of anti-American propaganda they can exploit to turn fellow Afghans against the U.S. military.
Jones has vowed to go forward with his plan to burn Korans despite public outcry both locally and nationwide. He could not immediately be reached for comment.