Clinton: GOP rhetoric over Obama Afghan apology could ‘inflame’ situation

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended President Obama’s apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and warned that the GOP’s condemnation of the apology could further “inflame” the situation.

Last week, U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan accidentally burned some Qurans, which sparked deadly protests in the country. Obama apologized to Karzai for the “unintentionally mishandled” books – a move that has been criticized by some Republicans.

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“I find it somewhat troubling that our politics would inflame such a dangerous situation in Afghanistan,” Clinton told CNN on Monday.

On Saturday, Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak apologized to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for an incident that left two U.S. military officers dead in the Interior Ministry of the Afghan capital of Kabul.

The shooting spurred a recall of coalition forces from the Afghan ministries. On Monday, Clinton would only elaborate to say that the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan was in lockdown and that employees there were not allowed to leave.

More than 20 people have died since the protests began last week.

“I well remember during the eight years of President Bush’s administration, when something happened that was regrettable and unintentional, as this incident was, President Bush was quick to say – look, we’re sorry, this is something that we obviously did not mean to do,” Clinton continued.

“That’s all that President Obama was doing and it was the right thing to do — to have our president on record as saying that this was not intentional, we deeply regret it, and now we are hoping that voices inside Afghanistan will join that of President Karzai and others in speaking out and trying to calm the situation. It is deeply regrettable, but now it is out of hand and it needs to stop.”

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