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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 124-12
February 21, 2012

Statement by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta on the Treatment of Religious Materials at Bagram Airbase

             "This morning ISAF Commander Gen. John Allen notified me of the deeply unfortunate incident involving the inappropriate treatment of religious materials, including the Koran, at Bagram Airbase.  He and I apologize to the Afghan people and disapprove of such conduct in the strongest possible terms.  These actions do not represent the views of the United States military.  We honor and respect the religious practices of the Afghan people, without exception. 

            "I support Gen. Allen's swift and decisive action to investigate this matter jointly with the Afghan government.  I will carefully review the final results of the investigation to ensure that we take all steps necessary and appropriate so that this never happens again."