A Wall Street Journal Roundup
WASHINGTON—U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday deplored the Quran burning by a pastor in Florida and condemned the attack on a United Nations outpost in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of seven U.N. workers.
Messrs. Obama and Karzai spoke via video conference for an hour on an array of topics, including the transition of security to Afghanistan, according to a summary of the conference released by the White House.
A U.N. office in Afghanistan was overrun April 1 as protesters expressed outrage at a Florida pastor for burning the Quran late last month. The Quran burning caused protests throughout Afghanistan.
Military officials have condemned the Quran burning and attacks. Messrs. Obama and Karzai also condemned the actions. “The two presidents were clear that to attack and kill innocent people is an affront to human decency and dignity,” according to the White House summary.
Previous condemnations of the Koran burning by Mr. Obama and other U.S. leaders have done little to placate anger or ease anti-Western sentiments across much of Afghan society.
Afghan officials Wednesday said they have in custody at least two former insurgents suspected of involvement in the killings of the seven U.N. workers over the Quran burning in the U.S.
Lawmaker Mohammad Akbari said that a government team investigating the April 1 attack against the U.N. headquarters in Mazar-e-Sharif has identified three men believed involved in the killing of three U.N. staff members and four Nepalese guards.
A chief investigator with the Interior Ministry, Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, said two of the suspects were in possession of a rifle used in the attack.
Both officials couldn’t provide more details but said the suspects deny killing anyone.
Meanwhile in Jalalabad, NATO forces killed seven insurgents who tried to storm their way onto a base in eastern Afghanistan, the coalition said Wednesday.
NATO said the attack was carried out late Tuesday by insurgents firing assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
A statement from the coalition added that NATO forces returned fire and called in an attack helicopter. The statement said there were no coalition casualties; there were no further details on the killed insurgents.
There has been an increase in battles between U.S.-led forces and insurgents in the past couple of weeks as Afghanistan’s spring fighting season gets under way.
Gen. Ali Shah Paktiawal, provincial chief of police Nangarhar province, said the attack occurred just before midnight outside the base and confirmed that seven insurgents were killed.
Late last year, insurgents wearing suicide vests stormed the same base, with six of them dying in a hail of gunfire before they could penetrate the defenses.