Hundreds of Afghans marched toward the palace of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, while on the other side of the capital protesters hoisted the white flag of the Taliban.
Chanting “Death to America!” and “Long live Islam!,” protesters also threw rocks at police in Kabul, while Afghan army helicopters circled above.
U.S. President Barack Obama had sent a letter to Karzai apologizing for the unintentional burning of the Korans at NATOs main Bagram air base, north of Kabul, after Afghan laborers found charred copies while collecting rubbish.
Muslims consider the Koran to be the literal word of God and treat each copy with deep reverence. Desecration is considered one of the worst forms of blasphemy.
Afghanistan wants NATO to put those responsible on public trial.
In neighboring U.S. ally Pakistan, about 400 members of a hardline Islamist group staged protests. “If you burn the Koran, we will burn you,” they shouted.