28 Feb. 2009
PR# 2009-202

ISAF, Afghan leaders respond to protest

KABUL, Afghanistan - International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) and Afghan National Police representatives met today with provincial authorities to respond to local concerns raised at a protest yesterday in Ghazni province, alleging that a mosque had been damaged.

Previously, Afghan National Police in Ghazni, acting on information that a certain building in the village of Deh-e Khodaydad was being used as a militant safe house and recruitment centre, requested that ISAF troops support an ANP operation intended to capture militant cell leaders there.

During the Feb. 26 operation, Afghan National Police entered the building using a non-lethal concussion grenade to subdue possible occupants. ISAF forces provided a security cordon around the building, but did not enter. The ANP found no militants inside the building, and no shots were reportedly fired.  There were no reports of injuries in the operation or of significant damage to the building or its contents. Additionally, there was no indication that the building might have been used as a mosque.

On Feb. 27, based upon unsubstantiated claims that the building was a mosque and that religious materials had allegedly been damaged, a local protest occurred involving approximately 200 people. Afghan National Police responded to the scene. No ISAF forces were involved in the protest.

The protest may have been instigated by a deliberate enemy propaganda ploy.  ISAF continues to investigate the claim.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/