US Soldier Accused of Afghanistan Massacre Said “I Did It”, Flown Out Of Country
An already tense situation may have just gotten worse, with US officials removing the US Soldier accused of the Afghan civilian shootings from the country.
According to reports, the soldier in question was seen on a surveillance video approaching the Belandai special forces base with his weapon covered in a cloth. He threw his hands up and surrendered to other troops, and reportedly told the soldiers "I did it." Afterwards, the soldier requested a lawyer and did not respond to questions afterwards. Officials have said they received word that the soldier, a 38-year-old Staff Sergeant and a married father of two, was having marital problems at the time, and alcohol may have been a factor. The soldier enlisted shortly after 9/11, serving three tours in Iraq, and being stationed in Afghanistan this past December.
Yesterday, citing legal recommendations, the accused soldier was flown to Kuwait because there were not sufficient facilities to detain a US Serviceman for an extended period of time in Afghanistan. Official charges are expected to be filed by the end of next week, but Afghan lawmakers have made it clear they wish to prosecute the soldier themselves. Some lawmakers have said that Afghan officials should refuse to sign the strategic partnership with Washington unless the soldier is turned over to the Afghan government,
"It was the demand of the families of the martyrs of this incident, the people of Kandahar and the people of Afghanistan to try him publicly in Afghanistan,"
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made an unannounced visit to the troops in Afghanistan to assure the government's support of the troops during this rough and uneasy time,
"We'll be challenged by our enemy. We'll be challenged by ourselves. We'll be challenged by the hell of war itself. But none of that, none of that, must ever deter us from the mission that we must achieve."
"As tragic as these acts of violence have been, they do not define the relationship between the coalition and Afghan forces and the Afghan people."
Though the accused soldier is a US citizen, given the nature of his crimes (most of the civilians killed were women and children) and to assure good relations with a government not to happy with us, should the soldier be turned over to the Afghan government?