16 murdered in Afghanistan
Troops in Afghanistan are on high alert after the Taliban has threatened to avenge the sixteen murdered innocent civilians who were killed in their homes by American soldiers. Among the dead, were three women and nine children. The reported rogue soldier was said to have gone on his killing spree shortly after suffering a mental breakdown earlier on Sunday morning.
The soldier, an army staff sergeant, was stationed at a US base in Kandahar. He entered the Afghanis’ homes at around three in the morning. After waking up the residents, he began shooting them. Relatives of the deceased reported that he then poured chemicals over the dead bodies and burned them.
Thought to have acted alone, current investigations are looking to discover what would have caused the soldier, believed to be a parent of three, commit such an inhumane act.
With hostilities already high in this region, NATO forces are preparing for what looks like a promised strike back from Taliban forces, who claim these killings were the work of more than one soldier. Condemning the killings as the acts of “sick minded American savages,” they are now vowing to take vengeance ”for every single martyr with the help of Allah.”
Last month, before the killings took place, anti-American sentiments were already high after Korans, the Islamic Scripture, were burned by NATO soldiers, leading to a violent protest that lead to the deaths of thirty people. The burnings also came to attention shortly after a video portraying four Marines urinating on Taliban corpses was released on the internet in January.
Not much is known about the supposed lone gunman other than the fact that he is married and has served three separate tours in Iraq. He has also served with a special operations unit of Green Berets or Navy SEALS, NATO’s best hope for pulling out
of Afghanistan. The teams train and pair with villagers chosen by the village elders to essentially make a local neighborhood militia. The soldier had been stationed in Afghanistan since December.
After the sergeant concluded his rampage, he then came back to the forward operating base and turned himself in, telling officials everything that had occurred. When asked if the suspect could be sentenced to death, he replied “in these instances that could be a condition.”
Many are calling that justice be brought to the sergeant including Afghan president Hamid Karzai who has called the atrocities “unforgivable” and the Parliament stated that “the people are running out of patience.” They also have demanded that the sergeant be handed over and tried in front of the people of Afghanistan and closed for the day in protest. The Pentagon has refused their demands, making it clear that they will be the ones to prosecute.
The Pentagon’s investigation will look into the possibility of mental illness as the cause because the sergeant was serving for his eleventh year in the military. But if this proves to be the case who is responsible? Is the sergeant’s supervisor to blame for not recognizing any possible symptoms of the his possibly deteriorating mental health?
This string of murders is the latest strain on U.S. and Afghan ties and couldn’t have come at a worse time. President Obama has warned against “a rush for the exits” from Afghanistan stating that “it’s important for us to make sure that we get out in a responsible way, so that we don’t end up having to go back in,” in an interview in Pittsburgh for CBS and KDKA. But a new poll over the weekend has shown that Americans aren’t satisfied with the war, believing it’s not worth the expense and we need an early pullout. The President is just wanting to ensure that Afghanistan has the cabability to defend itself against any possible Taliban return.