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US plans to apologise to Pak over Salala air raids 'hindered' by Afghan Quoran burning protests

Islamabad , Sat, 25 Feb 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Feb 25 (ANI): The United States' plans to apologise to Pakistan for the November NATO air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in the Salala area of Mohmand Agency, have been hindered by riots in Afghanistan over the burning of copies of the Quran at a NATO base on Monday night.


The New York Times quoted a Defence Department official as saying that under a carefully coordinated plan, the military had planned for General Martin E Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to make a formal apology via telephone to Pakistan's Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, on Thursday.


However, the plan was marred by this week's Afghan riots, and reports suggest that a senior Pakistani official said his government wanted the American apology to be delayed until at least mid-March, when the Parliament in that country is due to hold a special sitting to debate Islamabad's revised policy toward America.


According to reports, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was supposed to talk about the issue during her meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, but it was marred by the explosion of violent rioting in Afghanistan.


The US refusal to aplogise over the deadly attack had outraged Pakistanis and threatened their decade-long partnership in the war against terror.


Clashes between Afghan troops and protesters angry over the burning of Muslim holy books at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan had left at least seven people dead and dozens wounded as anger spread despite U.S. apologies over what it said was a mistake.


Wednesday's demonstrations across four eastern provinces showed the amount of anger and frustration the Afghans have over the foreign forces' intrusion in their country and insulting their culture. (ANI)


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