US military criticised for donating soccer balls

The United States military reportedly issued a statement regreting it had handed out soccer balls emblazoned with the name of Allah as part of a public relations exercise in Afghanistan. At least one of the balls - which were dropped by helicopter to children in Khost province in eastern Afghanistan - carried a small picture of the Saudi Arabian flag. The flag features in Arabic script the Islamic declaration of faith, which contains the words Allah and its Prophet Muhammad. Khost Governor Arsalah Jamal said villagers were upset and angry when they saw the ball. He also said the US military told him they bought the balls in a market in Kabul and they were made in China.

"The distribution of soccer balls was done in the spirit of goodwill, something that we hoped would bring Afghan children some enjoyment, " Sgt. Dean Welch said as reported by AP. "We regret any disturbance that was caused in this case," he said. "If we hurt one person, that is one too many."