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Anti-U.S. emotions run high at Afghan dogfighting ring

Breaking News/Kabul: Protests over the burning of Korans at a NATO base may have faded but some Afghans are still venting their rage over the incident — at a bloody Kabul dogfighting ring.

If emotions here are any indication, desecration of copies of the Muslim holy book did lasting damage to the image of the United States, which is struggling to pacify the country before NATO combat troops leave at the end of 2014.

“We call the dogs who lose Americans. We are furious about the Korans,” said Mirwais Haji, 28, as a defeated canine limped off the snow-covered dirt ring on the edge of the capital.

“We want the Afghan government to bring the people who did this to us. We will kill them ourselves.”

The burning of the Korans last month triggered widespread protests and a string of fatal attacks by Afghan security forces on NATO soldiers.

The killing of two U.S. officers by an Afghan policeman in the Interior Ministry stunned NATO and cast doubt on its strategy of replacing large combat units with advisers as the alliance tries to wind down the war, now in its eleventh year.

An apology by U.S. President Barack Obama has failed to ease the anger over an incident that has hurt a U.S. campaign to win hearts and minds to gain an edge over the Taliban and force them to negotiate peace.

The Koran burning incident underscored how U.S.-led NATO troops still fail to grasp Afghanistan’s religious and cultural sensitivities despite their long presence in the country.

That insensitivity could have far-reaching consequences for U.S. policy.

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