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US Soldier Said To Kill 16 in Kandahar; Afghans “Out of Patience”

US Soldier Said To Kill 16 in Kandahar; Afghans “Out of Patience”
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A US army sergeant “methodically” killed 16 civilians in the southern Afghanistan villages of Alkozai and Najeeban in Kandahar, shooting them after breaking into three homes. Three women and nine children were among those killed, with eleven of the dead from one family. The soldier gathered some of the bodies and set fire to them after the killings, which occurred early on Sunday morning. At least five Afghans were wounded, some seriously in the attacks so the number of the dead could rise. According to the US military, the soldier returned afterwards to his base and turned himself in.

The New York Times reports that the soldier is attached to a unit based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a major Army and Air Force installation near Tacoma, Washington, and is part of what is called a village stabilization operation. He is married and has two children and had served three tours of duty in Iraq; he had been deployed to Afghanistan in December for the first time.

The killings occurred at a time when relations between Kabul and the US are already fragile and strained. President Hamid Karzai condemned the attacks, which he described in a statement as an “inhuman and intentional act” and also as “an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven.” President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta have both called Karzai to express their condolences and promise a full investigation of the attacks, which the President referred to as “tragic and shocking.”

The lower house of the Afghan parliament issued a resolution saying that Afghans had “run out of patience with the arbitrary actions of foreign forces” and demanding that “the government of the United States punish the culprits and try them in a public trial before the people of Afghanistan,” though under a NATO agrement with the Afghan government, foreign soldiers are to be tried in their own countries.

Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, a NATO spokesman, said that “the initial reporting that we have at this time indicates there was one shooter, and we have one man in custody.” Some Afghan officials and local residents have expressed doubt that one soldier could carry out so many killings in houses located more than a mile apart and burn the bodies afterwards. A survivor from the attacks, 40-year-old Abdul Hadi, told the New York Times that he was in one of the houses whose door the soldier broke down and only survived because he was hidden by the women in his family. Hadi said that more than one soldier participated in the attacks as did other villagers, who also spoke of seeing a helicopter and flares at the scene. But other Afghan residents said they had only seen one gunman while a senior American diplomat said that other troops and helicopters had only appeared after the shooting, the latter to evacuate the wounded to a military hospital.

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Photo by 1/25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team via flickr

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78 comments

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5:16AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Well if this doesn't go to prove that forcing your troops into another country for long amounts of time is a very bad idea then I don't know what is!
This is what happens when one human being is forced time and time again to kill others for a reason that isn't overly clear, they snap and kill innocent people. The innocent loss of life is the disgusting side effect of war which isn't even okay in the case of a WWI or WWII let alone something like this war that the rest of the world doesn't really understand that that no one really supports anymore!
You've been told to leave, pack up your guns and go home!

2:23PM PDT on Mar 18, 2012

What a tragedy, not only for the nearest and dearest of those whose lives were lost in this tragedy but for the lost soul who committed this most terrible of deeds and those who love him. Unfortunately, until the powers that be who sit in their ivory towers in Washington let go of the concept of "winning" or "losing", such things are bound to happen.

Grow up you clowns, stop wasting human life and taxpayer resources on propping up a piece of trash like Karzai and his government. Bring our people home and let the populous of Afghanistan sort out their own problems. Rebuild our own country and take care of our troops!

8:24PM PDT on Mar 15, 2012

And he SHOULD GET OFF!!! The people who are RESPONSIBLE are the people WHO SENT HIM THERE!!! The GROSS INDIGNITY here is sending our children to this hell hole in the first
place. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THAT!!! There is NO REASON ON EARTH TO BE IN
AFGHANISTAN!!!! GW and his OIL BARONS and the GOP WAR MACHINE are screwing the AMERICAN PEOPLE!!!! THEY ARE GETTING RICH and EMBARRASSING US BEFORE THE WORLD!!!! STOP BLAMING THE LITTLE GUY AND PUT THE BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS!!!!

10:15PM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

I am so very distressed by this tragedy in Afghanistan. Women and children and eleven victims from one family. I can't imagine the pain that survivors of this massacre are going through. But already many are saying that this soldier just "went nuts", had a nervous breakdown or was mentally disturbed. Somehow, it's someone else's fault.
Certainly, the soldier has already been flown out of Afghanistan as the US will never allow one of its own to be tried in any foreign jurisdiction. No doubt mental illness or some such mitigating factors will be presented at trial.
I would respectfully point out what happened in the Lieutenant Calley trial. He actually served 3.5 years of house arrest for his massacre of Vietnamese civilians. And more recently the soldiers who perpetrated gross indignities on Afghani corpses plea bargained to receive slaps on the wrists. What of the widespread torture of Iraqis in prison? Who was brought to justice for those crimes? Similarly, David Hicks with the connivance of the Australian Government, served 5 years in Guantanimo and he didn't kill anyone.
No, US authorities are so focussed on prosecuting Bradley Manning (who has been in solitary confinement for how long?) and extraditing Julian Assange for embarrassing leaks. Indeed some US commentators have called for his assassination.
Just call me cynical. This unnamed soldier will most likely get off because of his "mental condition" and the US and its states don't execute mentally disabled people,

3:14PM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

Our COURSE we are getting blamed for a guy who went nuts. Our GOVERNMENT is responsible for him GOING NUTS!!! Our government is US! So we are responsible for what
our government does, are we not? OR IS IT THE FEW GREEDY BASTARDS WHO CONTROL OUR GOVERNMENT WHO ARE TO BLAME??????

1:01PM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

We are getting the blame for a person who went nuts. I do not condone what he did in the least.

12:56PM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

We need to get the hell OUT of the middle east before we start World War III. This war was
STARTED by the GREED OF A FEW and it will be STOPPED BY THE HEART AND COMMON SENSE OF THE MANY!!! WOMEN ARE THE 50%! FIGHT FOR LIVES OF YOUR CHILDREN!!! GET THEM BACK HOME!!!!

10:12AM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

Foremost, this is a tragedy for the people who were murdered and for the soldier involved.
Certainly, the soldier should be made to pay for his actions. However, if the army knowingly sent a person who had a history of a nervous breakdown into service, then I believe they too should also face blame.

Problem here, I fear, is little justice will done here. Peoples opinion towards Americans will continue to further erode.

2:38AM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

I had read that the soldier accused of this crime was on his fourth tour of duty. This is inhumane, no wonder the poor man snapped. What happened to the Afghani civilians is a tragedy, but what has happened to this soldier is also a tragedy. Didn't he also suffered from a nervous breakdown before he was deployed to Afghanistan? If this is true, then he should have never been made to go back to combat duty.

10:24PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Joe, look at the history of Europe and America. America was settled by European Catholic/Christian Nazi WHITE PEOPLE who excuse all their murder and violence by quoting a 2,000 year old book of horrors, the BuyBull. They brought black people from Africa kicking and screaming all the way over the ocean and forced them to work for nothing. Then they bravely worked hard raping their own slaves, all the while calling them "apes". In addition they almost wiped out the Native Americans who were just minding their own business in their own country. The people who are in power in America at this time are
the prodigy of slave owners, KKK members, Catholic/Christian Nazi bigots who rub elbows with billionaires. Don't forget the present Pope is a former Nazi youth and the Catholic Church is a very powerful regime in America. America has troops in 100 countries around the world from their endless wars. No other country in the world does this. The only reason America is in the middle east is GW and his cronies wanted to steal Iraq's oil. The GOP's war machine has always been about stealing other peoples' resources. You will never see the GOP send any of THEIR CHILDREN over to that hell hole, they only send OTHER PEOPLES' CHILDREN! They train children to MURDER and then when they SNAP and murder the wrong people everybody comes down on the innocent soldier. This is WRONG!!! GW and his cronies should be HUNG for sending our CHILDREN OVER THERE!!! These rich scum are the CR

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