US forces apologized Wednesday for dropping leaflets in northern Afghanistan depicting a dog with a Koranic verse written across its body in a highly offensive image to Muslims.
A photo of the leaflet circulating on social media shows a lion chasing a white dog — the same color as the Taliban’s flag — with the holy verse “there is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is the messenger of Allah” superimposed on its body.
“Take back your freedom from these dogs. Help the security forces eliminate these enemies. Take back your freedom and ensure your security,” the leaflet says.
NATO forces frequently drop leaflets over large swathes of Afghanistan in an effort to persuade locals against supporting insurgents.
Social media users condemned the disrespectful design on the leaflets, which were dropped in Parwan province.
Major General James Linder, who heads the US and NATO special operations forces in Afghanistan, apologized for the leaflet design which he said was an “error”.
“The design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam,” Linder said in a statement.
“I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide.”
An investigation into the incident is under way, said a spokesman for the special operations forces at Bagram Airbase in Parwan, America’s largest base in Afghanistan.