‘Reintegrated’ Taliban may be behind slaughter at UN compound in Mazar-i-Sharif

Protests over the burning of a Koran in the USA continue to spread in Afghanistan. Today, two Afghan policemen were killed in Kandahar city, where 10 people were killed during riots yesterday. Also today, protests took place in Jalalabad, Kabul, Herat, and Takhar, although those were described as peaceful (protesters merely shouted “Death to America” and burned effigies of President Barack Obama).

Reuters is reporting that so-called “reintegrated” Taliban may have been behind the slaughter of five Nepalese guards and three UN employees at a UN compound in Mazar-i-Sharif on April 1.

A senior interior ministry investigator said on Sunday the killers of the U.N. staff appear to have been “reintegrated” Taliban — fighters who had formally laid down arms — although the insurgents have denied any role in the attack.

The reintegration of low and mid-level Taliban fighters is a key part of the ISAF strategy to defeat the Taliban and end the terrorist insurgency.

Meanwhile, the UN is blaming the murders on a Florida pastor who burned the Koran two weeks ago. From TOLOnews:

Mr Staffan De Mistura blamed the violence on the Florida pastor, describing the burning of the holy Koran as “insane and totally deprecable gesture by one person”.

I don’t think we should be blaming any Afghans, we should blame the one who burnt the Koran, he said addressing a news conference in Kabul on Saturday.

Freedom of speech does not mean to offend culture, religion and traditions, he added.

Whatever you may think of Terry Jones, the pastor in charge of the Dove World Outreach Center, in Gainesville, Fla., who sponsored the Koran burning, he didn’t kill a single person. A large group of Afghans who are largely unmoved by the daily slaughter of innocents by Taliban IED and suicide attacks, but who easily get worked up over the burning of a Koran by a screwball pastor, killed all of those people.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.

Tags: ,


  • Soccer says:

    “Freedom of speech does not mean to offend culture, religion and traditions, he added.”
    I disagree with that statement.
    Freedom of speech means, in my view, to say what one wishes as long as it does not incite violence or genocide or any such thing. Burning Korans, insulting religious figures, criticizing cultural traditions, is, and should be part of protected free speech.
    With statements like that from the U.N., I am sometimes glad that private institutions such as the Long War Journal and Foundation for Defense of Democracies exist. Because if it wasn’t for private entities like this, they would effectively stifle free speech and public opinion, and take the Internet down along with it. The Internet would be nothing more than their propaganda.
    Call this far fetched, but it has happened to many societies before us, and the U.N. has been known to openly announce their intentions to make opinion more “suitable” and in tone with their agenda.
    It bothers me that in the age of information, the Internet, and “freedom of expression”, we have people like this who make blanket statements that, when analyzed, really show that they want to mold such freedom of expression to their goals and standards.
    I agree with Bill’s analysis, the hypocrisy and double sided face of the attackers is disturbing. But don’t expect anyone to listen.

  • Charles says:

    Totally agree Bill. Stupid act by a screwball preacher does NOT equate to killing anyone, regardless of what any violence apologist might care to say. I’m not sure which is more distressing, that a UN official would deflect the blame from the murderers or the fact that we pay the UN official to spew his ‘wisdom’. A press conference espousing sayings like ‘Sticks and Stones’ or ‘I am rubber, you are glue’ would be a better investment than what we are getting now from the UN.

  • blert says:

    Blame rests entirely with Karzai.
    He massively publicized an event that had gone un-noted.
    The rest followed.

  • Kemal says:

    Freedom of political speech is absolute and without exceptions. Once you make exceptions then the extremists will impose their will upon the moderate masses, silencing speech through the use of coercion and violence with the claims of being wronged through speech. You only have to look to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws to see how restrictions on speech lead to the total repression of the people by the extremists. If one feels the speech of another is wrong then the remedy is to speak in opposition. Violence is never justified by the speech of another. Anybody who claims this is advocating tyranny. Mr. Staffan De Mistura of the U.N. is a tyrant.
    Thank Allah for the genius of our Founding Fathers for clearly enumerating our rights of free speech and the right to bear arms to defend these rights. These rights are inalienable and granted to all people of the world regardless of any laws, decrees, or opinion of political leaders. The United States was the first (and remains uniquely exceptional) to make these rights so eloquently expressed in our Constitution.

  • James says:

    “Freedom of speech means, in my view, to say what one wishes as long as it does not incite violence or genocide or any such thing.”
    The actions this Florida pastor took DID incite violence.
    I suppose one loon (this pastor) begets another group of loons (the religious fanatic mob in Afghanistan).
    This Florida pastor is I feel even a poor example of what a good Christian should be.
    With all due respects to your positions, yes we do have a right to free speech but it should be our moral obligation to engage in mature and RESPONSIBLE speech.
    Just because some words may be legal (under the Constitution) it may not make them moral.
    As far as that king of kabul (karzai) is concerned, if it wasn’t for US, his head would have been put on a silver platter by aq/taliban thugs long ago. Maybe some day one-eyed cyclops (mullah omar) shall fulfill his desire.
    As far as the UN official making the statement, we have to consider that they are “under the gun” and may have made his statement in haste and under duress.

  • Mike. says:

    The pastor was not, in fact, making a religious statement, certainly nothing he said or did had any reference to Christianity. His ‘trial’ of Islam just happened to be held in his wacko church and he happens to be its pastor.
    He was instead making a personal judgement on Islam that has morphed into a free speech statement, by his burning of a Koran.
    And I hate to say this, given the grotesque pogrom that followed, but in an interview with the BBC, he actually made a lot of sense in discussing American values of free speech.
    But he judiciously used the term ‘radical Islam’ rather than just ‘Islam’ in the interview. This made the it sound actually more reasonable. But his previous action, the Koran burning, was against the entire religion. Shows his imperfect reasoning faculties.
    Regardless, in America, you can piss on anything and no one can defend his honor by killing over it. A few hundred years ago(?), we ratcheted down our concept of honor (including revenge, dueling, etc.) in favor of an open and free society, with a rule of law. The backwaters of the Islamic world are just not there yet, due, maybe, to lack of education, etc.
    With the example of Egypt, at least, there is some hope the Islamic world will get there. But the loss of the dominance of religious ‘honor’ over civil concepts of freedom and rule of law is the price that will be paid.

  • Luca says:

    Freedom of speech has very little to do with this issue or is anyway unimportant for the comprehension of the matter at hand: accepting responsibility for your words and actions is the name of the game – which by the way, is the first thing our parents taught us as we entered the world of “adulthood”. In other words the only factor stifling your right to call me a bastard is the thought that it will provoke a reaction on my part (in this case, say, I’ll break you jaw). So terry jones or the other book burning lunatic have every right to slander anyone and anything (including other major monotheistic creeds), but should be prepared to accept repsonsibility for it, in this case tens of deaths in a far away land the majority of people, including the looney florida pastors, will never travel to. Action and Reaction, Cause and Effect is all there is, “rights” “freedom”, and my favourite, “democracy”, can only be applied by to local western contexts. The rest of the globe, as those of you who travel to godforsaken crisis areas know all too well, is literally lawless, cruel and gory. Nobody downrange cares whether they had a right to burn the Koran, what matters is that they provided the insurgency with an opportunity to amplify their propaganda and boost their recruitment power at the expense of NATO and all the lads in the Alliance who are risking everything to pull off what increasingly looks like mission impossible, Thx for your help Terry Jones! (from Terry the Taliban)

  • Eddie D. says:

    I guess there have been no korans in mosque when they attacked those or set off explosions.

  • matvox says:

    While Bill’s comments are understandable and in a world where every society was free, it would even be commendable. But while we live in a free society, Afghans live in an extremely poor society where powerful narco-intersts and pathological individuals jockey for power in the name of a twisted version of religion, but which has more to do with personal fiefdoms, the reaction was perfectly predictable. Of course they took advantage of a screwball’s actions a half world away that most Americans were not even aware of. They were incited to act, and riot, sometimes because of money or threats and propaganda which teaches them the non-Muslim invaders are pigs and ruining their country. As for the UN, give them a break. They’re people have been murdered for no good reason and they are in shock.

  • Tom says:

    Terrible arguments. Of course we have free speech. But, when your free speech causes people to rebel, to kill, and overall harms the US war effort (which it does) making things less safe for our troops and the mission more difficult, then you are responsible. Maybe not criminally responsible, but responsible. Terry Jones knew his actions would anger people, he did it anyway, and now several innocent people are dead. Cause and effect. And America, the country he claims to ‘love’ is now less safe because of his idiotic actions.
    He is really no different than the Taliban. They blew up the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001, he burns the Muslim sacred text in 2011. Same exact thing. Just more racism and religious intolerance.

  • Nazia says:

    Action(Burning quran) and reaction(killing of weak community and labellings it against action) are some kind of planned activity with random targets.
    Two wrong cant make a single right but those who initiate such actions while living is safe heavens know well the consequences of their action.
    Why POPE or even local church dont charge that pastor for such inappropriate religious actions that can cause deadly reaction on poor workers living in war areas.
    Americans work on data, Try to get the facts all time mess is started in safe environment of west and we people suffered/suffering in east due to your so called liberal policy of free speech and free culture.
    911 was serious security lapse in US system and three countries where millions are suffering your security lapses for last 9 years.

  • Neonmeat says:

    @ Tom
    @ James
    He did not incite anyone to violence, he committed an ethically questionable act yes but it was in fact the Imam’s et al response inside Afghanistan that incited people to violence.
    T Jones merely expressed his opinion in a way that many would find offensive, the onus is then on them to respond to this like rational Human beings and refute his claims.
    Did these crowds not in fact prove his point?
    Its like accusing someone of being a violent person (in an insulting manner) and then they punch you in the face to prove that they are not?
    I personally will not be made an intellectual hostage by the deadly response of religions (or political groups) to mine or others opinions, I expect rational debate not violent reaction.
    However let me point out that I do not think T Jones initial demonstration was a rational argument however two wrongs do not make a right!
    The UN imo has demonstrated that it is simply scared to condemn this attack for fear of further worsening its image in the Islamic sphere of influence, the response of Mr Staffan De Mistura makes me sick:
    “I don’t think we should be blaming any Afghans, we should blame the one who burnt the Koran”, he said addressing a news conference in Kabul on Saturday.
    No! we SHOULD be blaming the individual Afghans that shot and killed six or more people that day, its about time someone stood up and said this was a violent reaction in the name of their religion and in supposed defence of their religion. Yes it was a reaction to a ethically questionable and perhaps morally repugnant act but that does not in anyway excuse the killing of these people as if they are collateral damage of someone having an opinion that is offensive to Islam. NO! they were murdered by religious fanatics.
    I reserve the right to offend whoever I want and in turn to be offended, I am in fact deeply offended and enraged by these murders committed in the name of Islam however I will not go out now with a mob of my friends and in turn murder a Muslim man or woman as a response, no I will continue to speak my mind against these acts and condemn them in the strongest words, that is a reasonable response.
    We cannot allow the threat of violence to silence intellectual and ratinoal debate about religion and politics and faith in the modern world like it apparently does for the UN.

  • Nazia says:

    We cannot allow the threat of violence to silence intellectual and rational debate about religion and politics and faith in the modern world like it apparently does for the UN.
    You are absolutely right that violence shouldn’t be swapped by silence of victims and intellectual debate
    burning of holy book( any) comes in circle of desecration of faith in public sector which heat can only be felt in backward or area having less intellectual growth.
    Does it come in category of violence or some kind of intellectual and rational debate.
    You should reply me after reviewing the prolong after effects of war on terror in Muslim countries. The one I should mention is and it is to throw back that nation toward backwardness .

  • Neonmeat says:

    The effect of the war in Afghanistan is that there are more schools being built for girls and boys so therefore hopefully the people will in time become more educated and secular.
    I think you are trying to say that because of their lack of education the people only knew how to respond in violence, apologies but I am finding it hard to understand you post.
    If this is what you are saying though then yes I agree the only way we can solve the problem of violent islamic reaction is to educate people in critical thinking and open debate.
    I personally do not believe any country ‘belongs’ to Islam: Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Chechnya, Pakistan all have many diverse religions in them who are unfortunately dominated by Islam and on the whole suppressed, I would like to think a little bit of their respective countries cultures also belongs to them and not just the Muslims.
    Nice blog btw.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram