Angry Afghans rally over Quran disposal at US base

By Deb Riechmann

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 21 2012 6:31 a.m. MST

In April 2011, Afghans protesting the burning of a Quran by a Florida pastor turned deadly when gunmen in the crowd stormed a U.N. compound in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif and killed three staffers and four Nepalese guards.

Separately, officials in Helmand province in the south said insurgents beheaded four people Sunday night in Washer district on the charge that they were spies.

"The militants told the local people that they were guilty because they were carrying satellite phones," provincial spokesman Daoud Ahmadi said.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said that the militant group was not involved in the killings.

Also in the south, a NATO service member died Tuesday as a result of a non-battle related injury. The U.S. led coalition gave no further details about the death. So far this year, 44 NATO service members have been killed in Afghanistan.

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