Afghanistan: US soldier murders 16 Afghan civilians?

Posted by: Phineas on March 11, 2012 at 11:15 am

**Posted by Phineas

Horrifying news.

An American soldier apparently went nuts in Afghanistan and gunned down 16 civilians in a village. From the BBC via Threat Matrix:

The soldier has not been named, but is thought to be a staff sergeant.

He is reported to have walked off his base at around 03:00 local time (22:30 GMT Saturday) and headed to nearby villages, moving methodically from house to house.

“Eleven members of my family are dead. They are all dead,” Haji Samad, an elder from Najeeban village, told the AFP news agency.

Haji Sayed Jan, from Alkozai village, was quoted by the AFP as saying: “My home was attacked and I lost four family members”.

A delegation from the provincial governor’s office has arrived in the village to determine exactly what happened, a spokesman said.

The soldier – who had reportedly suffered a breakdown before the attacks – is said to have handed himself over to the US military authorities after carrying out the killings.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said in a statement that US officials in Afghanistan would work with their Afghan counterparts to investigate what happened.

These are first reports and we can expect some part of them to turn out wrong, of course, but one has to wonder why a soldier who had “suffered a breakdown” was still in Afghanistan or even allowed a weapon.

Regardless, while doing all it can to quell the almost-inevitable furor, the Administration should resist any demands to turn him over to Afghan authorities for “justice.” He should be tried and, if found guilty, punished as dictated by Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

This will almost surely make the riots after the Qur’an burning incident look like Sunday in the park; the Taliban are already exploiting this for all it’s worth. In a tribal shame-and-honor culture, revenge killings are the norm. Let’s hope any precautions taken are enough to prevent other American and Coalition soldiers from suffering for this man’s crime.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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9 Responses to “Afghanistan: US soldier murders 16 Afghan civilians?”


  1. EBL says:

    This is of course very bad news. The solider should immediately be removed from Afghanistan. I do want to know what his motivation was.

  2. william surrette says:

    Repercussions will not be too bad. Unless he shot a copy of the Koran.

  3. Carlos says:

    I’m glad Obama’s reactive outrage is equal to his outrage when Americans were killed in an outburst over burning Qu’rans.

  4. ClareA says:

    Oh Geez. Can we NOT have this be about How Obama Is The Worse Ever? Does it matter to the Afghan people who the CIC is when this happens? Please.
    I agree with the original post. This isn’t just terrible for the Afghan people, it’s terrible for our troops. They represent our country over there and have to deal with the fallout.
    Excusing this kind of thing, or deflecting the horror on to Obama is not supportive of our troops, since they represent ALL of the U.S. The Afghan people aren’t differentiating between “conservative” and “liberal” Americans. They wouldn’t be any happier if it was President Bush.
    This isn’t a political posturing to them. It’s their COUNTRY!
    This kind of terrible aberration, and the burning of Koran, are NOT helpful to our troops over there.

  5. Carlos says:

    @ClareA: I never even intimated that the act of this lone mental misfit was to be sanctioned or excused by our side. It most certainly should not. The guy is as much a murderer as Tiller was.

    My point was that the outrage showed by Dear Leader is terribly selective, and can typically be couched in his own words: “I don’t have all the facts yet…”

    Especially since his outrage over the “Qu’ran burning” incident was also directed at the military, not the defacers of (in his opinion) those precious Qu’rans.

  6. Tex says:

    Not good news for my best friend’s Army son who is enroute tonight to Afghanistan to begin his third tour there.

    Our military service personnel have been sent to that Stone Age nation repeatedly, with rules of engagement that are designed to protect the Taliban and endanger the U.S. soldier, and led by a Commander in Chief who has already publicly surrendered to the enemy and is more interested in apologizing to our enemies than inspiring our soldiers with leadership. Our soldiers are way past the breaking point mentally. Is it any wonder this has not happened more often?

    Withdraw all American forces from that sorry excuse of a nation now! They can’t be dragged into the 21st century. They prefer to live in caves and club one another to death. Let them have their wishes. They aren’t worth the life of one more precious U.S. soldier.

  7. Drew the Infidel says:

    The confusion surrounding this and the burning of the Korans is an old concept known as “fishing in troubled waters” whereby a certain group (Taliban) will aggravate the chaos in order to further its own agenda. The Muslim Brotherhood’s success in Egypt is a good example.

  8. Carlos says:

    When the waters are troubled already with the likes of our Apologizer-in-Chief, it ain’t too hard to stir the locals up. He’s portrayed as something between a spineless slug and an amoeba, as having neither the desire nor the intestinal fortitude to react with anything more than an apology for getting in the way of their bullets.

  9. Kate says:

    Prayers going out to our troops who are expected to put up with the convoluted ground strategy required in Afganistan. That alone could make a weaker mind go ballistic.

    CNN is having a media field day….oh so helpful!