Karzai: “Poor” Cooperation From US About Killings

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that he is “at the end of the rope” over a lack of cooperation from the Americans in investigating the massacre of 16 people including nine children by a US staff sergeant last Sunday.  After meeting with families of the victims in the grand hall of his presidential palace, Karzai reportedly said that “US co-operation over the massacre” has been “poor.” Villagers told their version of what had happened; they have continued to insist that more than one shooter was involved and Karzai has said he will investigate their claims.

On Thursday, Karzai had called for the US to confine its troops to major bases in Afghanistan by next year, an “abrupt planning shift” that was in contradiction to a pledge that President Barack Obama had offered only a few hours earlier, to adhere to the 2014 withdrawal schedule of US forces. Karzai has demanded that US troops be pulled back from village areas and that Afghan forces must take the lead. To say that the massacre has put a severe strain on US-Afghan relations is an understatement.

Also on Thursday, the Taliban announced that it is calling off preliminary peace talks with the Americans. While noting that this announcement may be “coincidental,” the New York Times also says that it has “imperiled another crucial element of the American exit strategy in Afghanistan — brokering peace talks between insurgents and the government.”

While both Afghan and American officials are seeking to “put the best possible face on yet another rift between the two allies” — which has occurred at the very final stage of negotiations about a long-term strategic partnership — the events of the last week open the question if this divide is reparable.

Analysts Argue That the Afghan Mission Is “Incomplete”

Writing in Foreign Policy, Bruce Riedel and Michael O’Hanlon argue for why the US needs to stick with what is still a “mission incomplete.” Relations between Afghanistan and the US are at a crisis point — US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, arriving in Afghanistan to issue an apology to Karzai, was greeted by a fiery attack when an Afghan interpreter working for coalition forces crashed a stolen pickup truck near his plane — but “while the Afghanistan mission is going worse than we had all hoped,” it is still going “better than many understand.”

Riedel and O’Hanlon write that “enemy-initiated attacks in Afghanistan are down almost 25 percent over the last few months, relative to the comparable period last year,” though some parts of the country, including its east, are “20 percent more violent statistically in 2011 than in 2010, as insurgents belonging to the infamous Haqqani network and others wreaked havoc, and international forces remain underresourced there.” Riedel and O’Hanlon write that international forces are making “substantial progress” and the Afghan security forces have been improving.

American Soldier Transferred to US

The US staff sergeant accused of the shootings is now out of Afghanistan. After being briefly moved to an American base in Kuwait, he is being transferred to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. A senior American official said that he had been drinking alcohol, in violation of military rules in combat zones, and was “suffering from the stress related to his fourth combat tour and tensions with his wife about the deployments on the night of the massacre.” The soldier, said the official, “just snapped.” He had been injured in Iraq on a previous deployment and had reportedly suffered a concussion and the loss of part of a foot in one episode. Part of the part of the Third Stryker Brigade, Second Infantry, he had served three tours of duty in Iraq and has two young children. Panetta has said that the soldier could face the death penalty.

Related Care2 Coverage

Panetta: Death Penalty Possible For Soldier in Afghan Massacre

Afghan President Wants “Code of Conduct” for Women

Hate Slurry Follows Afghan Murders on Right-Wing Websites



Photo taken in December of 2011 by Secretary of Defense


Lyn B.
Lyn B5 years ago

No matter what this incident is going to motivate more to join Al quaeda or other anti-American groups like them.
Depending on how well we handle this will determine how bad those numbers will be.

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S5 years ago

And yes, I do know what I'm talking about from an insider's viewpoint. I'm certainly not saying that all the Afghanis are innocent by any means, but for some reason, we are still in their country. I would hope that, at the least, we don't need to butcher their children even if their leaders are not exactly shining examples of goodness and honesty.

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S5 years ago

@ Angela: Looks like you're missing the entire point and weren't even able to read the first sentence of this article. We are not talking about soldiers killing other soldiers here which is what is expected in war. This article is about a soldier who killed a bunch of innocent, unarmed civilians including children. Since this sort of action raises anger and resentment against the USA, and thereby heightens security risks, it should be considered on par with treason.

Even though there are supposed to be tests for mental fortitude before one is allowed to join the US armed forces, still some of our soldiers do and get away with way too much unacceptable behavior, or even worse in some cases, when overseas. It is a dangerously ignorant way to think that somehow the civilians of other countries are worth less than ours, and frankly we are supposed to be above that way of thinking since we've had the advantages of a relatively prosperous society and easy access to education.

Angela V.
Angela V5 years ago

Hmmm...such an outcry from Karzai. Where was his outcry when our Us and Aussie and yes, even a French soldier, were killed by Afghan soldiers? Oddly silent, from memory... I think we need to get our men and women back home and leave these countries to sort out their own problems. It's a mix of religion and politics, and no one will win. We should be concentrating on the extremitsts coming into our own countries.

Amie K.
Amie K5 years ago

This is what happens when you train people to be killers and then ship them off to untold parts of the world repeatedly with minimal support and no thought or concern as to their mental health. What surprises me is that we haven't seen more of this. :-(

Linda McKellar
Past Member 5 years ago

Who is to blame for this soldier going berserk? Could it be the higher ups who sent him to 3 tours of duty in Iraq and another in Afghanistan? Could they not recognize PTSD? That being said, regardless of the fact that he is a family man, what would the US do if an Afghani did this in the US? He would not be whisked home for a trial. He would be tried where he commited the crime. Sad as the circumstances are, this will not happen in this case. The Afghans have every right to be pissed off.

Linda McKellar
Past Member 5 years ago

Lis S, you are absolutely correct. The US supported, trained & armed the Taliban against Russia. Now they pay the price.
Linda T. True Karzai is a crook, drug dealer, misogynist, & despot. The US should never have trusted him let alone pay him in cash & arms.
The US does not know how to mind it's own business & the result is people killed in major numbers on bothe sides, Americans, Afghans, Iraqis, Vietnamese, Brits, Canadians, on & on.
The main result is increased tension & hate in the world so everyone suffers. Of course the old BS comes into play about 9/11. It's called payback for decades of US interference and civilian deaths abroad where they had no business. The US hawks declare, "well we never flew planes into buildings killing civilians!" I guess they never heard of drones. The difference, at least the 9/11 terrorists were brave enough to use themselves as kamikazees for their cause.

lis Gunn
lis Gunn5 years ago

Perhaps some of the posters here might recall that the US previously supported the Taliban rather than the Northern Alliance (remember Mashood, its leader) This was at a time when the Taliban were trying to get rid of the Soviets from Afghanistan. The Soviets got out anyway and American isn't going to do much better.

What is very disturbing is the growing divide between the West and Islamic nations.We went to war in Iraq on false premises and then in Afghanistan; supported the protesters in Egypt, Libya and Syria and now are not really happy with Pakistan (all largely Islamic). Moreover the Palestinians get very short shrift and they too are largely Islamic. Just reading some of the comments here and on Care2 in general would indicate a rise in Islamophobia, anti foreigner sentiments and a general isolationism.

Linda T.
Linda T5 years ago

Seems he's getting the kind of cooperation from the U.S. that he has given the U.S.

Donna B.
Donna B5 years ago

We do need to get out of there. We can never win over there, so why stay? Let Karzai stand up for his own country then. NO help from us. No money and no help to re-build. Sounds like an excellent idea to me.