From Florida to Mazar-i-Sharif

FROM FLORIDA TO MAZAR-I-SHARIF…. A radical Christian pastor in Florida, Terry Jones, had threatened to burn a Koran on Sept. 11, but was eventually talked out of it.

This was, alas, a temporary reprieve. Jones actually went through with his stunt last week.

News of his antics spread, and today, carried deadly consequences.

Stirred up by a trio of angry mullahs who urged them to avenge the burning of a Koran at Florida church, thousands of protesters overran the compound of the United Nations in this northern Afghan city, killing at least 12 people, Afghan and United Nations officials said.

The dead included at least seven United Nations workers — five Nepalese guards and two Europeans, one of them a woman. None were Americans. Early reports, later denied by Afghan officials, said at least two of the dead had been beheaded. […]

Unable to find Americans on whom to vent their anger, the mob turned instead on the next-best symbol of Western intrusion — the nearby United Nations headquarters. “Some of our colleagues were just hunted down,” said a spokesman for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Kieran Dwyer, confirming that the attack.

The violence was worst for the U.N. in nearly two years, and came in a part of Afghanistan thought to be so safe, that U.S. troops no longer feel the need to patrol the city in significant numbers.

Friday’s incident began when three mullahs, addressing worshippers at Friday prayers inside the Blue Mosque here, one of Afghanistan’s holiest places, urged people to take to the streets to agitate for the arrest of Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who oversaw the burning of a Koran on March 20. Otherwise, said the most prominent of them, Mullah Mohammed Shah Adeli, Afghanistan should cut off relations with the United States. “Burning the Koran is an insult to Islam and those who committed it should be punished,” he said.

The crowd — some carrying signs reading “Down with America” and “Death to Obama” — poured into the streets and swelled — the governor of Balkh Province, Atta Mohammad Noor, later put the number at 20,000. According to Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, spokesman for General Daoud Daoud, the Afghan National Police commander for northern Afghanistan, the crowd soon overwhelmed the United Nations guards, disarming some and beating and shooting others.

For his part, Jones, in apparent reference to Muslims everywhere, “We must hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities…. It is time that we call these people to accountability.”

No word about accountability for Jones.