President Barack Obama has condemned a US pastor’s burning of the Koran, after violent protests at what he called an act of “extreme intolerance and bigotry” left 17 dead in Afghanistan.
Ten people died yesterday amid fresh protests that began in the centre of the main southern city of Kandahar and spread as police clashed with crowds.
It came a day after seven UN staff were killed in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, the worst attack on the world body in the country since the 2001 invasion.
“The desecration of any holy text, including the Koran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry,” Obama said in a statement honouring those killed in the attacks.
“However, to attack and kill innocent people in response is outrageous, and an affront to human decency and dignity. No religion tolerates the slaughter and beheading of innocent people, and there is no justification for such a dishonourable and deplorable act.
“Now is a time to draw upon the common humanity that we share, and that was so exemplified by the UN workers who lost their lives trying to help the people of Afghanistan,” he added.