A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up outside of a U.S. military base in Afghanistan on Sept. 6 in retaliation for the U.S. dropping offensive leaflets the day before, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Four Afghan civilians were wounded in the blast that occurred at an enemy-control point outside of Bagram Air Force base, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters reported.
Taliban spokesman Zabihulla Mujahid tweeted Sept 6. that the bombing was to “avenge” the leaflets deemed insulting to Islam.
The leaflets the U.S. dropped from a plane on Sept. 5 in Parwan province pictured a lion, symbolizing the U.S.-led coalition, chasing a dog, which symbolized the Taliban.
Dogs are considered an unclean and dangerous animal by many Afghans, according to The Washington Post, and the one depicted on the leaflet had part of the Taliban flag superimposed on it along with a common Islamic creed.
“There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet,” the creed, known as the shadada, reads.
“Get your freedom from these terrorist dogs” was also written on the leaflet above the two animals, the Los Angeles Times reported. “Help the coalition forces find these terrorists and eliminate them.”
Jesus Christ on a pogo stick. This is a propaganda leaflet the US military distributed in Afghanistan a few days ago./1 pic.twitter.com/Gr3Zv5B8LT
— Dan Murphy (@bungdan) September 6, 2017
The Taliban also released a statement on Wednesday that the leaflets showed the U.S.’s ” utter animosity with Islam,” The Post reported.
Maj. Gen. James Linder released a statement on Sept. 6 saying that the “design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam. I sincerely apologize.”
“We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide. There is no excuse for this mistake,” he said. “I am reviewing our procedures to determine the cause of this incident and to hold the responsible party accountable. Furthermore, I will make appropriate changes so this never happens again.”
Many Afghan civilians were also irate with the leaflets.
— Zabihulla-M (@ZabihullaM4) September 6, 2017
“It is a very serious violation. The people are very angry. It is a major abuse against Islam,” the Parwan province police chief, Mohammad Zaman Mamozai, told The Post. “Why they do not understand or know our culture, our religion and history?”
“The foreign forces don’t have any idea of what are the values of the Afghan people,” Ahmad Shaheer, an analyst living in Kabul, told the Los Angeles Times. “They’ve hired some interpreters and advisors who only know how to speak English, make money and gain trust, but really are strangers to the real values of the local people.”
The U.S. has been at war in Afghanistan for almost 16 years, and President Donald Trump recently announced he would be deploying more American forces — about 4,000 by most estimates — to the war-torn country.
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