Admin discipline recommended in Quran burning
The Associated Press has learned that a U.S. military investigation is recommending that as many as seven U.S. troops face administrative punishments, but not criminal charges, in the burning of Qurans at a U.S. base in Afghanistan in February.
U.S. military officials say the classified report and recommendations for disciplinary action against the service members involved were delivered to the Pentagon more than a week ago. No final decisions have been made.
Several Qurans were thrown into a garbage fire pit, setting off riots among Afghans.
U.S. officials say one Navy service member and as many as six Army soldiers face punishment that can range from a letter in their file to docking their pay.
U.S. military officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter is under review. AP
New Zealand signs new defense agreement with U.S.
New Zealand and the United States have signed a new defense agreement, underscoring a new era of military cooperation.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and New Zealand Defense Minister Jonathan Coleman signed the “Washington Declaration” at the Pentagon June 20. The agreement focuses on building maritime security in the Asia-Pacific region, establishing regular policy dialogue, and working together to counter threats.
New Zealand’s military relationship with the U.S. soured 25 years ago when it banned nuclear warships from its shores.
Although the ban remains, the relationship has improved significantly since New Zealand first sent troops to Afghanistan in 2003 and particularly since the center-right National Party, which is seen as U.S.-friendly, came to power in 2008. AP