Afghan ministers cancel Washington trip amid Quran protests

“The secretary understands why that's a priority and why they are unable to travel to Washington in the coming days,” Little said in an email to reporters. “He looks forward to hosting them at the Pentagon in the near future.”

Four U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in the past week, including two U.S. officers stationed in the Interior Ministry on Saturday. That prompted NATO to withdraw its officials from all Afghan ministries.

Widespread protests have continued over the past week since last Tuesday’s burning of Qurans at Bagram Airbase. Seven U.S. soldiers were wounded Sunday by a grenade thrown into a base in northern Afghanistan, and a Taliban suicide bomber killed at least nine people at an eastern Afghanistan airport Monday in what the group said was revenge for the Quran burnings, the BBC reported.