Maj. Gen. James Linder, the head of Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, had to apologize this week for a leaflet drop in that is likely to alienate potential allies.
U.S. Central Command released a statement on Wednesday taking ownership for a leaflet drop over Parwan Province that included Islamic text imposed over the an image of a dog. Troops who thought they were simply denigrating the Taliban committed a cultural and religious faux pas by pairing the text — known as the Shahada — with an animal. Dogs in particular are considered unclean.
“The design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam,” Maj. Linder said in a statement. “I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide. There is no excuse for this mistake. I am reviewing our procedures to determine the cause of this incident and to hold the responsible party accountable. Furthermore, I will make appropriate changes so this never happens again.”