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Military advises administrative punishment for 7 troops in Quran burning

The U.S. military has recommended administrative punishments, but no criminal charges, for as many as seven troops involved in the burning of Muslim holy books at a NATO base in Afghanistan that sparked deadly clashes.

A military official told NBC News that a classified investigation into how service members burned copies of the Quran earlier this year is now complete.

The investigation made its way to the Pentagon a few days ago and is now in the hands of the service branch chiefs for review.

The investigative report recommends that U.S. Army soldiers and at least one U.S. Navy sailor receive the punishment -- likely a letter of reprimand or a drop in rank and pay -- for their roles in the book burnings.

As many as 12 service members were involved in the chain of events that led to the burning of the religious materials, the military official said, adding that more punishments could be coming.

At least one of the soldiers involved is an officer, the official told NBC News. 

None of the names of the military members involved have been released.

The burning took place in February when several Qurans were thrown in the garbage and then sent to the burn pit for incineration. The actions set off days of violent riots throughout Afghanistan.

The incident tapped into anti-foreign sentiment fueled by a popular perception that foreign troops disrespect Afghan culture and Islam.

NATO later apologized for the burning of the holy texts.

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