Afghan President Hamid Karzai has postponed a visit to Norway fearing a violent backlash at home over an anti-Islam film that sparked riots killing the US ambassador in Libya, according to officials.
The assault, which killed four American diplomats in the Libyan city of Benghazi was triggered by a mob angered by a film deemed offensive to Islam that Afghanistan has condemned as “inhuman and insulting”.
In Norway, the foreign ministry confirmed that Karzai’s arrival had been delayed because the president felt the need to be in Afghanistan after recent events.
On Wednesday, Karzai and US President Barack Obama discussed how to “help ensure that the circumstances that led to the violence in Libya and Egypt do not pose a threat to US forces or Afghans,” the White House said.
The crudely produced low-budget movie, whose director goes by the name Sam Bacile and is believed to be Israeli American, pokes fun at the Prophet Mohammed, showing him sleeping with women and touching on themes of paedophilia and homosexuality.
The film has been promoted by controversial US pastor Terry Jones, who has drawn protests for burning the Koran and vehemently opposing the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York.
Afghanistan is a devout Muslim country where anything seen as insulting to Islam is taken very seriously, often with a violent response.
Riots killed around 40 people earlier this year after US troops burnt copies of the Koran on a military base.
Around 117,000 NATO troops are based in Afghanistan helping Karzai’s government put down a 10-year Taliban insurgency.