WASHINGTON – Six U.S. Army soldiers received administrative penalties rather than criminal charges for the burning of Qurans in a trash dump at the biggest U.S. military base in Afghanistan in February.
The administrative actions can “have serious adverse effects on careers,” Army spokesman George Wright said Monday. “However they are not necessarily career-ending.”
The soldiers, whose names weren’t disclosed, received reprimands and no other penalties, according to an Army official who asked not to be identified discussing the personnel actions.
After the burning of Qurans triggered anti-American riots and more than a dozen deaths of Afghans and NATO forces, President Obama apologized for the mishandling of the Islamic holy book.
The incident involved bad judgment rather than “any malicious intent,” the Army’s investigating officer wrote in a March 24 report made public Monday.
“Despite all the missteps, at no time was the path chosen by the involved U.S. service members motivated by hatred or intolerance of a particular faith,” Brig. Gen. Bryan Watson wrote in his report.
In an effort to close the books the same day on another incident that roiled U.S.-Afghan relations, the Marine Corps on Monday imposed administrative punishments on three Marines for their roles in urinating on Taliban corpses last year and videotaping the incident, which went viral on the Internet in January.
The administrative punishments imposed on the Marines weren’t disclosed.
Among the possible penalties were a reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay and a reprimand, according to a Marine Corps statement.
Afghan leaders, led by President Hamid Karzai, had demanded the strictest of punishments for U.S. forces at fault in both cases.