The White House apologized Tuesday for the apparent mishandling of Muslim holy books at a military base in Afghanistan, calling the episode a "deeply unfortunate incident."
"It does not represent the views of our military," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. "And it certainly does not represent the conduct of our men and women in uniform or our general respect for the religious practices and beliefs of the Afghan people."
U.S. officials are trying to limit the fallout from news that the books, including Korans, were being burned inside the base. Laborers working at the Bagram Air Field found books and brought them outside, sparking protests.
Carney echoed the apology of Gen. John Allen, U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, who quickly condemned the "inappropriate disposal" and emphasized that it was inadvertent.
Carney said the incident is under investigation "to understand what happened and to ensure that steps are taken so that incidents like this do not happen again."