UN Fears Quran-burning Could Delay Afghan Poll
Kabul, Sept 9 -- The United Nations fears a US church's plan to burn a Quran might force next week's Wolesi Jirga elections to be postponed.
The UN Special Representative to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, on Thursday told Reuters he was concerned about the possibility of next week’s parliamentary elections being delayed because of the response it would trigger from Afghans.
There have already been two protests, in Kabul and neighboring Kapisa province, to the small Florida church’s plan. Late on Thursday Pastor Terry Jones, from the 30-member Dove World Outreach Center, said he had cancelled the event [Daily Mail]. He was later quoted as saying he had only postponed it [BBC].
“Imagine, God forbid, this took place, then it could have a substantial effect on the election process," de Mistura told Reuters.
"It could affect the timing and it could affect the way the elections take place.”
The church's plan had drawn wide condemnation from, among others, Muslim leaders, US President Barack Obama and ISAF Commander General David Petraeus, who said it would endanger US troops.
ISAF said on Friday it had killed a senior Taliban commander in Kabul province who had been planning pre-election attacks on the capital. US Air Force Colonel James Dawkins, ISAF Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center director, said an airstrike in Musahi district killed Nur Mohammed.
"This was a very successful strike which stopped a very dangerous individual from conducting further attacks against Afghan civilians and Afghan and coalition forces," he said. "The Afghan people deserve to cast their votes without fear of attacks from the insurgent groups.” [ISAF website.]