Afghan civilian murders: Karzai calls US soldier shooting 'unforgivable'

Published: March 11, 2012

ISAF says, US Forces-Afghanistan, in cooperation with Afghan authorities, will investigate this incident. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday condemned as “unforgivable” the slaughter of 16 villagers in their homes by a rogue American soldier.

“When Afghan people are killed deliberately by US forces this action is murder and terror and an unforgivable action,” Karzai said in statement.

The US soldier was detained in Afghanistan for shooting and wounding several civilians in the southern province of Kandahar, a spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) coalition said on Sunday.

“It was a shooting incident involving multiple civilians wounded,” said the spokesman, Captain Justin Brockhoff, adding that there were no initial reports of deaths in the attack which took place on Sunday.

Civilian casualties have been a major source of friction between President Hamid Karzai’s government and US-led Nato forces in Afghanistan.

“US Forces-Afghanistan, in cooperation with Afghan authorities, will investigate this incident,” Isaf said in a statement.

“This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved.”

Kandahar Governor Tooryalai Wisa earlier told Reuters a US soldier left his base in Kandahar and opened fire on civilians. He said initial reports indicated up to 16 civilians were killed.

Anti-American sentiment is running high in Afghanistan and it may deepen if news of the shooting spreads.

Anger gripped the country after US soldiers burned a large number of copies of the Koran at a Nato base last month. Nato said it was a tragic blunder.

Thirty people were killed in protests and Afghan forces turned their weapons on US soldiers, killing six.

Isaf commander regrets incident

Lt Gen. Adrian J Bradshaw, deputy commander of the Isaf, has regretted the incident, saying he is deeply dismayed at the soldier’s action.

“I cannot explain the motivation behind such callous acts, but they were in no way part of authorised Isaf military activity,” the statement, issued on Sunday, said.  “An investigation has been started already and every effort will be made to establish facts and hold anyone responsible to account. Our thoughts and prayers are with those caught in this tragedy.

He conveyed regret and sorrow over the appalling incident on behalf of Isaf Commander General Allen and all members of the force.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • j. von hettlingen
    Mar 11, 2012 - 3:47PM

    No doubt frustration is deep among the Western forces in Afghanistan. After having been there for 10 years, they don’t seem to have the situation under control. The world has to learn Afghanistan’s history: All foreigners had been kicked out of the country as they tried to occupy this country: the Indians, the Persians in ancient days. In modern days the Russians had to leave after 9 years and 3 months after realising the war there was not winnable. Soon the Western forces will follow suit.

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  • Dr Khan
    Mar 11, 2012 - 3:58PM

    Where are the liberals? Dont want to condemn uncle sam’s atrocities? Looking for clues to blame it on the Taliban perhaps? How many times has NATO killed civikians only to be blamed on the Afghans themselves? Its rarely reported like today, but I trust my liberal pakistanis to pin it on the Taliban once again. atta boy.

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  • Ibrahim
    Mar 11, 2012 - 4:15PM

    the taliban did it… Americans are too much of angels to even think of even hurting a fly… A Taliban did it wearing US uniform…

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  • Bangladeshi
    Mar 11, 2012 - 4:15PM

    What else can be expected from this terrorist . But still I find ET commenters and
    Indians praise US as if US came to liberate AF.Recommend

  • Mar 11, 2012 - 4:23PM

    @Dr Khan:
    well said bro

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  • Afghan Karachite
    Mar 11, 2012 - 8:23PM

    Here is what gonna happen: The soldier will be introduced to a martial court, the judge will issue a verdict declaring him “mentally unfit” for the sentence and would be put in jail for couple of years, when people start to forget abut him and the incident – they will release him without letting the media know about it. US justice system is only for those criminals/rapists/terrorists who’s victim is an American.
    A US soldier involved in intentionally killing an Iraqi civilian got only five years in jail, however, Afia Siddiqi has been imprisoned for 85 years for attempted murder charges – not murder!

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  • Nikos Retsos
    Mar 11, 2012 - 8:42PM

    This event reminds me the “Kill, Kill, Kill” unison shouting during U.S. army training featured by a “Frontline” documentary broadcasted on PBS. The reason of such training in the U.S. army is to wipe out any trace of human emotions among trainees, and turn them into vicious fighters that can win wars. Wars are won by killing of one’s enemy, but the dehumanizing of soldiers during training makes their vision of the enemy blurry. And then, the civilians are just cut down! That is why some GI’s come back home from war, tell their parents “I am a murderer,” and commit suicide. Their conscience reset after being out of the battlefield, and they are just overwhelmed by their guilt!

    The killing of the 16 Afghan civilians is proof that “star wars” weapons and dehumanizing of soldiers doesn’t win wars. It just turns battlefields into human flesh mincing machines. And that occurs because the “morale of being in the war for a valid purpose is not there!” That “morality vacuum” turns previously normal human beings into vicious killers!” Nikos Retsos, retired professor

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  • Cautious
    Mar 11, 2012 - 8:51PM

    Shameful act – thankfully this terrible person is in custody and hopefully will be tried, convicted and serve his sentence doing “hard time” in a military prison. The USA should compensate the victims.

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  • Smith
    Mar 11, 2012 - 8:59PM

    “‘When Afghan people are killed deliberately by US forces this action is murder and terror and an unforgivable action,’ Karzai said in statement.”

    And when US forces or Afghans are killed by Afghan civilians, it’s what? Not worth condemning? Justified? How Afghans say “hello”?

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  • Doc
    Mar 11, 2012 - 9:14PM

    I am very sad for the families and I weep with them. It was one soldier, not the entire Army. Every soldier is sick about this incident. These actions are not who we are. This is not our values or how we have been trained. This was some sick deranged soldier who slipped through the cracks and probably should not have been serving in the Army. It is beyond my mind how any soldier could shoot innocent people, especially women and children. I hope the punishment is swift and severe. If the Afghan people respond with violence, more innocent people will be killed. Give the justice system a chance to work. We work with Afghans everyday and know most are good and decent people. If you think this does not upset soldiers, you are mistaken.Recommend

  • Iron hand
    Mar 11, 2012 - 9:35PM

    This is a shooting spree by someone who snapped. It happened last week twice in the US. He will be treated as the murderer that he is. No Americans will be throwing rose pedals at his feet, and therein lies the difference.

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  • Mar 11, 2012 - 10:39PM

    If this was a Muslim who went postal and killed a bunch of western civillians he and the entire Muslim world population would be called a terrorist and Islam would be blamed for everything.

    Can someone explain how is this guy different from a taliban suicide bomber and shall we blame the last 2000 years of Christianity for his actions?

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  • Roshan
    Mar 12, 2012 - 1:08AM

    I wonder how long will it take for the Afghans to take revenge. Revenge for sure will be take as past incidents has proven that. There is no trust in American justice system in these matters so no one in Afghanistan is going to wait for that. We shall wait and see.

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  • afzaal khan
    Mar 12, 2012 - 1:11AM

    keep it hidden at the bottom Tribune good job done once again :)

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