ONTD Political

Taliban vow revenge for US soldier's attack on Afghans

8:57 am - 03/12/2012
Statement on website promises revenge for 'every single martyr', as questions are raised about military mission in Afghanistan

Afghans gather outside a Nato base to protest at the killing of civilians by a US soldier, in the Panjwai district in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The Taliban have vowed to take revenge for a US soldier's "barbaric" killing of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday morning, as Afghan lawmakers called for the American to be tried in a court in Afghanistan.

The murderous spree has prompted western and Afghan questions about the military mission in Afghanistan, and is likely to complicate efforts to seal a much-delayed strategic pact laying out the basis for US military presence and financial support after combat troops leave in 2014.

Funeral services were held in the victims' villages on Monday, and a presidential delegation arrived in nearby Kandahar city ahead of a larger memorial service, as the Taliban said in a statement on their website that they would "take revenge from the invaders and the savage murderers for every single martyr".

The streets of Afghanistan were quiet, despite fears of a repeat of the violence that broke out in February when US forces were found to have burned copies of the Qur'an. Dozens of Afghans died in riots, and six US soldiers were shot dead by Afghan forces they served alongside.

But protests could erupt later; snow in Kabul may have kept some people at home and news can take days to spread in a country where electricity is limited outside urban centres and internet access an elite luxury.

US leaders, including President Barack Obama and General John Allen, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, have rushed to express condolences over the killings of mostly women and children, and promised a thorough investigation. But many Afghans said they had little confidence in US justice.

"When Americans make a mistake here, at first they apologise, and promise investigations, but then there is no news and no results," said an editorial in Sokhan-e-Jadid, or New Word, newspaper.

"It was the same with the case of the burning of the holy Qur'an, even though Karzai put strong pressure on the foreigners."

Parliamentarians called for a trial in Afghanistan to answer some of these concerns. It is almost certain to be refused by the US military, but the attack is stirring up questions about the immunity of foreign soldiers from Afghan prosecutions, already a sticking point in talks on a strategic pact, and something that contributed to the departure of US troops from Iraq.

"The people who were involved in killing civilians have to be punished in front of the Afghan people, this is the desire of the Wolesi Jirga [parliament], for the Afghan government to follow this case and bring them to court," a spokesman for the lower house said after the day's session.

The scale of the rampage shocked the west, because although there have been far larger death tolls from air strikes in Afghanistan, they have been accepted in foreign troops' home countries as tragic mistakes rather than deliberate massacres.

But many Afghans saw it instead as part of a larger pattern of intentional killings by foreign forces. The villages were just a few dozen miles from where a group of US soldiers in 2010 killed three Afghan civilians for sport.

"This is not the first time they have committed such crimes. If you look around the country, maybe every month or every week such a crime happens in the countryside, but most of the time we don't hear about that," said Waheed Tanha, a 33-year-old, medical student at Kabul University.

"This is not the work of a soldier, this is not the work of a madman, it is the work of their government and we don't need the Americans in our country anymore."

The killings are likely to complicate the west's already difficult ties with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who has long criticised the Nato-led coalition for failing to prevent civilian casualties.

However, anger over the incident may also strengthen Karzai's hand as he tries to reach agreement with Washington about the last major obstacle to a strategic deal, night-time raids on Afghan homes.

Karzai says the raids do more harm than good and must end before he will sign a strategic pact, but western generals say they cannot beat the insurgency without them. Sunday's killings are almost certain to make more sensitive the question of western troops' presence in Afghan homes.

bellichka 12th-Mar-2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
It's just all that black-and-white, isn't it? I'm sure PTSD and the fact that troops are serving 2, 3, 4 tours in combat zones has *nothing* to do with it. They're just cold-blooded killers who deserve to die themselves!!
jettakd 12th-Mar-2012 11:57 pm (UTC)
I'm not saying that there aren't incidences of that. There are plenty. And people who do things like this based on mental disturbance like that, deserve treatment and sympathy.

But the people who burn the Korans and many people who do go on these killing sprees, do not have that. They've mentally dehumanized innocent people and they should be punished for murdering them.
yeats 13th-Mar-2012 03:37 am (UTC)
i feel like this article is especially even-handed... was there something in particular you objected to, or just the idea that criminal acts committed in wartime should be treated as such?
bellichka 13th-Mar-2012 01:11 pm (UTC)
The article definitely is, the comments here, not so much. I may be particularly sensitive to the issue considering that my best friend is an Iraq vet with PTSD, but I think it's very easy for us to simply paint the shooters as war criminals, etc., from the comfort of our living rooms. A large number of us simply have no idea what our soldiers are actually going through... we're asking them to serve two, three, four times in high-stress combat zones, and then we're surprised when they snap? If anything we should be decrying the military war machine and its inability to offer proper mental health screening & services, not the soldiers who are pushed to their breaking points and then snap.

But, that's just my opinion. Is it possible whoever did this is just an asshole? Sure. But I personally think there's more two it than that, and it's not always as black-and-white as it seems. Like I said, though, it's an issue I'm particularly sensitive to, so I might just not be seeing things clearly. I hope this all makes sense, though.
bellichka 13th-Mar-2012 01:14 pm (UTC)
more to* it
hera_bearrra 13th-Mar-2012 04:54 pm (UTC)
The only problem I have with the PTSD argument is when we ONLY apply it to American soldiers. It seems to me like whenever Afghans do something to our soldiers, we can't really come up with an explanation. But when soldiers commit atrocities, we use the PTSD argument. The reality probably is that a lot of Afghans are also suffering from PTSD or some sort of psychological problem. But there seems to be less sympathy for Afghans when something goes wrong.

I have limited knowledge of PTSD but can it drive a soldier to systematically murder women and children in their homes? I feel like whatever is going on with this guy, it's more than just PTSD.
bellichka 14th-Mar-2012 10:00 pm (UTC)
I have limited knowledge of PTSD but can it drive a soldier to systematically murder women and children in their homes? Among other things, yes. And I wholeheartedly agree that it's very problematic that we only apply the PTSD argument to American soldiers.
d00ditsemily 14th-Mar-2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
My husband has some mental illness issues from his time in so far in the military, and he still thinks that this guy should be charged as a murderer, since he is one.
bellichka 14th-Mar-2012 09:59 pm (UTC)
And that's definitely a valid opinion. I personally have not heard enough about this case, specifically what the Marine did, to make a judgment or a blanket statement. What may be valid for one soldier is not necessarily valid for another. I'd just like to find out more about his actions, as well as his history - all I've heard about that is that it's his fourth tour (three in Iraq, one in Afghanistan), which imho speaks volumes.
This page was loaded Sep 21st 2014, 6:14 pm GMT.