U.S. official on Koran burning: We'll move forward

(CBS News) Four Americans have been killed and at least 15 wounded in attacks in Afghanistan since last week when Islamic holy books were burned at a U.S. base there. Dozens of Afghans have been killed or wounded in riots. The U.S. says the Korans were burned with trash by mistake.

On Wednesday, "CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley spoke to U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, and Marine Gen. John Allen, the commander-in-charge of the war. An excerpt from the interview follows:

Pelley: Ten years in the country, sir -- how can these Korans have been burned?

Allen: It is something we're not happy about frankly, and before the sun went down that day, Scott, I issued an order from my headquarters that called for the retraining of the entire force to assist us in understanding the significance of the Koran and of the other religious materials to the Afghan people. That's my obligation as a commander, that's our obligation as a people.

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Pelley: Ambassador Crocker, the U.S. has been building a relationship in Afghanistan for more than a decade now, and I wonder how much has this relationship been set back by this incident with the Korans?

Crocker: Scott, clearly it's been a bad week but I'm quite confident we'll get through this. The pace of protest has slowed dramatically. A decade's worth of relationships doesn't go away in a single week, so we'll move forward.

Watch the full interview with Ambassador Crocker and Gen. Allen below:

  • Scott Pelley

    Anchor and Managing Editor, "CBS Evening News;" Correspondent, "60 Minutes"

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