By Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, Masoud Popalzai in Kabul and Sarah Jones in Atlanta
Qurans and other Islamic religious materials gathered for disposal from a detention facility at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan were inadvertently given to troops for burning, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force said Tuesday.
"This was not a decision that was made because they were religious materials," Gen. John Allen said. "It was not a decision that was made with respect to the faith of Islam. It was a mistake. It was an error. The moment we found out about it, we immediately stopped and we intervened."
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the airfield Tuesday, furious over reports of the burning.Religious materials, including the Qurans, were gathered for disposal from the Parwan detention facility, Allen said. "Those materials were inadvertently given to troops for disposition, and that disposition was to burn the materials."
Authorities are still attempting to determine "if and/or how much got burned before the mistake was discovered," ISAF spokeswoman Lt. Lauren Rago said in an e-mail to CNN.
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