WASHINGTON – U.S. military investigators have recommended that as many as seven service members face possible administrative punishment, but no criminal charges, for their role in the incineration of Qurans in Afghanistan this year, according to U.S. officials.
The Quran burnings, which senior military officials have repeatedly characterized as inadvertent, set off a week of riots throughout Afghanistan. The February incident was believed to have been a motivating factor in the killing of several U.S. troops by their Afghan counterparts.
The militarys investigation was conducted by an Army general in Afghanistan and submitted to the Pentagon in the past few days, according to officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Iran nuclear talks may not resume
Two long days of talks meant to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons ended Tuesday night short of either success or failure, and with the possibility of further negotiations very much in question.
A U.S. administration official said that after so many hours of tough exchanges, the parties need to talk to each other, parse what had been said, consult with their governments and determine whether there is a road ahead.
Contempt vote on Holder likely
After days of negotiating on what documents to release, Attorney General Eric Holder failed to convince the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee late Tuesday to drop plans to hold him in contempt of Congress, meaning the panel is likely to vote today unless the Justice Department hands over all demanded documents related to the so-called Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal.
Operation Fast and Furious was run out of the Phoenix division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives between 2009 and 2011, with the backing of the U.S. attorney in Phoenix. Federal agents targeting the Sinaloa drug cartel did not interdict more than 2,000 guns they suspected of being bought illegally, in the hope of later tracing them to the traffickers.
The ATF lost track of most of the firearms, some of which have been found at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States.