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U.S. Military Attack
From Sara Sidner, CNN updated 12:14 PM EDT, Sun March 11, 2012

U.S. soldier kills 16 Afghan civilians, Karzai says

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- An American soldier left his base in Afghanistan and went from house to house in two villages, killing 16 people in their homes, Afghan officials told CNN Sunday.

The dead include nine children and three women, plus five wounded, President Hamid Karzai said.

"The murdering of innocent people intentionally by an American soldier is an act of terror that is unforgivable," Karzai said.

The incident looks likely to inflame tensions still further between foreign troops and Afghan civilians, many of whom were enraged by the burning of Qurans by American troops last month.

American officials from President Barack Obama down called the burning an accident and apologized for it, but riots left dozens dead, including six American troops. Hundreds more Afghans were wounded.

Obama has been briefed on Sunday's shootings, two administration officials said.

"The soldier goes to the villages of Alokozai and Barakzai and attacks four houses, in which he kills 16 civilians and wounded others," said Haji Agha Lali, a member of the provincial council who said he had just been to the area.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force confirmed that a soldier had gone off base and fired on civilians before turning himself in, but did not say how many victims there had been.

There has been confusion about the number of casualties since the shooting in Kandahar province, eastern Afghanistan, with different sources offering different numbers.

Capt. Justin Brockhoff of ISAF said there had been "multiple" casualties and that the injured Afghans were being treated in ISAF facilities.

ISAF commander Gen. John Allen said the "deeply appalling incident in no way represents the values of ISAF and coalition troops or the abiding respect we feel for the Afghan people."

"I am absolutely dedicated to making sure that anyone who is found to have committed wrongdoing is held fully accountable," he said.

Acting U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham said his country was "saddened by this violent act against our Afghan friends."

"We deplore any attack by a member of the U.S. Armed Forces against innocent civilians," he said in a video statement, assuring "the people of Afghanistan that the individual or individuals responsible for this terrible act will be identified and brought to justice."

Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, said American troops were "under tremendous pressure in Afghanistan," but that "no one can condone or make any suggestion that what (the service member) did was right because it was absolutely wrong."

Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the United States was "on the right track to get out of Afghanistan just as soon as we can."

Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services committee, said: "It is one of those things that you cannot explain except to extend your deepest sympathy to those victims and see that justice is done."

He was speaking on Fox News Sunday.

The Taliban claimed that 50 people had been killed, but the Islamist militia regularly exaggerates casualty figures.

They disputed ISAF's version of events, saying several soldiers went on a raid that resulted in dozens of deaths.

But Maj. Jason Waggoner, another ISAF spokesman, said: "The civilian casualties were not the result of any operations. The soldier was acting on his own. After the incident he returned to the compound and turned himself in."

Brockhoff said officials do not yet have a motive for the shooting, which is under investigation by both NATO and Afghan officials.

Civilian casualties as a result of action by the NATO-led international coalition have long caused anger in Afghanistan, adding pressure on international forces to withdraw.

The international force has said avoiding civilian casualties is a high priority.

"My command's mission is to protect the civilian people of Afghanistan," Gen. Allen said last month. "I take very seriously the loss of every Afghan life. We will continue to do all we can to ensure the safety of the Afghan population."

The number of ISAF-caused civilian deaths decreased by nearly 17% from 2010 to 2011, the coalition force said in its December monthly report.

CNN's Samira Jafari, Claudia Dominguez, Ruhullah Khapalwak, Barbara Starr and Josh Levs contributed to this report.


Send Comments: BATISTE.F@BTEKS.COM
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Send Comments ASKFMB OPINION

Today is

Pattern Developing,,, One That Suggests Cancerous Incitement

Not weeks ago, the Quran Burning set off 3 weeks of rioting, that seem to be an exaggerated reaction to a mistake, yet, providing a opportunistic Taliban with a window of opportunity to fuel the flame or anger against the U.S...

One must wonder how such a mistake could take place after 10 years of knowledge, and lessons learned from previous similar acts, inciting exact responses by Muslims.

Now, not a month has passed, and a "rouge" U.S. Military Personnel, leaves the compound with weapons, goes on a killing spree that seems to be focused on anyone and not on possible terrorists, with woman and children being the bulk of the dead and wounded.

From an outside looking in, bird’s eye view perspective, I don't accept the fact that a callous mistake of the Quran burning was an un-conscientious mistake. Now, a short time later, an actual assault by a individual whose objective was an offensive move, outside the safe boundaries of the military compound..., suggests that, perhaps these two specific incidents are not standard individual mistakes.

These are serious circumstances, in a serious environment that cost serious harm to the entire intent of providing support for the Afghanistan people.

Any Mal Intent by a small group of people, who are racist, bigoted, poisoned by bad leadership, or who are simply incapable of being in Afghanistan serving as a representative of the entire United States of America, must go, and held accountable, for their acts and actions.

The Burning of the Quran was badly handled, in that, no public disciplinary actions have been publicly revealed. The Burning of the Quran was a horrific act, one that should have never taken place, and the excuse of the act being a "mistake", is unacceptable.

I believe that leadership, with respect to the Quran burning, should have been the example, of the seriousness, to which the U.S. takes these types of unacceptable acts, with the degree of punishment disseminated to the leader, and made public, for all to bear witness too.

It's Leadership that set the example, and based on the Quran burning, and this, horrible event of assassination by a military personnel, the leadership in Afghanistan, is either extremely incompetent, and out of touch, or the leadership is complicit, in these acts.

I'm sure that I'm not the only one who considers this perspective, and if others do, then I'd have to assume that some Afghanistan may feel the same way as I do.

Accountability has to be at all levels, heads must role.

 

 

 

In My Opinion

ASK FMB
3/11/2012

Send Comments: BATISTE.F@BTEKS.COM
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