Afghan President Delays Trip Abroad Fearing Unrest

Posted September 13th, 2012 at 7:35 am (UTC-5)
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Officials say Afghan President Hamid Karzai has postponed a trip to Norway following the violent protests that erupted in Libya and Egypt over an anti-Islam film.

Norway's Foreign Ministry said it was informed by the the Afghan Foreign Ministry that Mr. Karzai's visit set for Friday has been delayed.

The Norwegian foreign ministry said Thursday that the Afghan leader finds it necessary to remain in Afghanistan “in light of the serious events in some Arab countries recently.”

A spokesman for President Karzai also confirmed the postponement to VOA, but would not give details.

On Wednesday, Mr. Karzai discussed the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya during a phone call with President Barack Obama. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, were killed by suspected Islamist militants.

The White House said President Karzai expressed condolences for the “tragic loss of American life.” The two leaders also discussed the importance of working together to help ensure the circumstances that led to the violence in Libya and Egypt do not pose a threat to U.S. forces or Afghans.

An obscure American-made film mocking the Prophet Muhammad prompted the protest outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo. The movie's trailer had been posted online.

U.S. troops sparked outrage in Afghanistan last February for burning copies of the Quran. The incident resulted in violence across Afghanistan that left 30 people dead.

Afghans have also taken to the streets in recent years to protest the publishing of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspapers and a Dutch film said to be critical of the Quran.

Elsewhere in South Asia, at least 100 demonstrators in Bangladesh's capital chanted anti-American slogans and burned a U.S. flag Thursday to protest the American-made film.