US Soldier Kills 16 Afghan Civilians In Their Homes [UPDATE]
UPDATE: According to MSNBC, though no protests or demonstrations were seen Monday morning, the Afghan Taliban has pledged to take revenge against the "sick-minded American Savages",
"The American 'terrorists' want to come up with an excuse for the perpetrator of this inhumane crime by claiming that this immoral culprit was mentally ill. If the perpetrators of this massacre were in fact mentally ill then this testifies to yet another moral transgression by the American military, because they are arming lunatics in Afghanistan who turn their weapons against the defenseless Afghans without giving a second thought."
U.S. and NATO reps are doing what they can to assure people this was not a raid and was the act of a single person. Several people have been quick to shoot down such claims, saying one person cannot be responsible for the amount of carnage cause Sunday morning. One villager told the Associated Press that even if the government tells them this was just one person, they wouldn't believe it.
The identity of the shooter has still not been released, but it has been revealed that the soldier is a 38-year-old staff sergeant who is married, has two children, served three tours in Iraq before being stationed in Kandahar this past December as part of a "village stability operation".
With the war officially over, but hostilities still going on in the middle east, even this is something we never expected to hear.
In Kandahar, Afghanistan, a US Soldier left the military base in the early hours Sunday morning and walked to two villages just a few hundred yards away. According to Minister of Border and Tribal Affairs Asadullah Khalid, the unidentified soldier enterted three homes and opened fire on the sleeping civilians. Samad Khan, who has family members among the dead, said that 9 children were killed along with 3 women.
"This is an anti-human and anti-Islamic act," said Khan. "Nobody is allowed in any religion in the world to kill children and women."
Khan has also demanded that Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who called the incident an "assassination", punish the soldier or hand the soldier over to Khan and the other villagers who lost family members.
According to the BBC, the soldier was thought to have suffered a mental breakdown. Afghanistan's defense ministry have told some news sources that several soldiers, referring to them as "coalition forces", were responsible for the shooting. NATO has yet to comment on the report, however one witness, who declined to give her name, only mentioned the one soldier in question,
"No Taliban were here. No gun battle was going on. We don't know why this foreign soldier came and killed our innocent family members. Either he was drunk or he was enjoying killing civilians."
The American Embassy in Kabul issued a statement saying,
"The United States extends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of today’s tragic shooting incident. We assure the people of Afghanistan that the individual or individuals responsible for this act will be identified and brought to justice."
Tensions in the area were already high after an incident last month after US Soldiers burned a large number of Qurans at a NATO base, which NATO called a tragic mistake. Apart from the 16 confirmed dead, 5 injuries were also reported as a result of the shooting. After the shooting, the soldier turned himself in.