U.S. Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, apologized on Tuesday for "improper disposal" of Islamic materials in Afghanistan that sparked thousands to protest outside a U.S. military base, and pushing guards to fire rubber bullets from a watchtower. “ISAF personnel at Bagram Air Base improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Qurans,” Allen admitted, adding that the disposal was stopped immediately when it was revealed. Allen didn't specify how the Qurans were disposed of, but the crowds protesting at the base claimed that they had seen NATO personnel burning them. Last April, three days of protests left 20 dead—including seven U.N. workers—after a U.S. pastor burned a Quran in Florida. Meanwhile, NATO said on Tuesday that three service members had died in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan, bringing the total number of deaths this year in Afghanistan up to 47.