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WH 'gratified' by Karzai's response to protests

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama's spokesman yesterday praised Afghan President Karzai for his response to the ongoing protests, which have resulted in the deaths of multiple American soldiers, but would not say if Obama believes Karzai should apologize for the soldiers' deaths.

"The President is certainly gratified that President Karzai has appealed for calm in Afghanistan, as we work through what is a very challenging situation," Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during the press briefing yesterday.

Earnest had been asked if "the President [is] seeking an apology from President Karzai for the fact that U.S. service personnel were killed" during protests over the inadvertent burning of Korans at Bagram Air Force Base. Two soldiers were killed at Bagram by a person in an Afghan military uniform. Two other American officers were killed in Kabul, the Afghan capital. "Local media reports said the gunman was an Afghan policeman but this has not been confirmed," the BBC reports.

The Taliban issued a call this week for the Afghan people to kill Westerners in the country as a response to the Koran burning. "They have to kill them, beat them and capture them to give them a lesson to never dare desecrate the holy [Koran] again," a Taliban spokesman said in a statement, according to MSNBC.

"There is no doubt that we're working through a difficult situation there," Earnest added in answering the question about asking for an apology from Karzai. "But we are going to stay on track of accomplishing our goal and continuing to make the significant progress that we have made in ensuring that Afghanistan cannot be a safe haven for al Qaeda or other violent extremists."

 

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