At least one American soldier opened fire on unarmed, Afghan civilians early Sunday morning in Kandahar province, leaving 5 wounded and 16 dead, including 3 women and 9 children.
President Karzai expressed disgust and outrage, stating that the killings were intentional and unpardonable: “This is an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven.”
The Afghan parliament concurred, and demanded that those responsible be brought to justice: “We urge the United States government to punish the culprits and put them on trial in an open court so that the rest of those who want to shed our innocent people’s blood take a lesson from it,” a statement read.
The attack occurred in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday morning. One of the survivors, a 15-year-old boy named Rafiullah, described how the American soldier in question had crept into his home in the middle of the night, awakened his family and began to execute them.
According to Abdul Baqi, a resident of the area, at least three separate homes were victimized in a similar manner. “When it was happening in the middle of the night, we were inside our houses. I heard gunshots and then silence and then gunshots again,” Baqi said.
RT reports that eyewitnesses to the shooting are claiming the gruesome attack was committed by more than one serviceman. Reuters, quoting Agha Lala, an area resident, reported that the soldiers were intoxicated while carrying out the massacre: “They were all drunk and shooting all over the place.”
After murdering the Afghans, the U.S. soldiers reportedly poured flammable chemicals over the bodies and set them on fire, laughing all the while.
This is not the first time American soldiers have engaged in the murder of Afghan citizens. In 2010, 4 members of the Army’s 5th Stryker Brigade were arrested, charged with, and eventually imprisoned for forming a “kill team” and hunting Afghans for sport. They reportedly were known to murder unsuspecting civilians with high-powered rifles and even hand grenades, then plant weapons near the bodies in order to justify the killings. Mark Boal, who covered the murders for Rolling Stone, had this to say:
You’re dealing with a group of soldiers who were angry and bored they had been in A for quite some time — for 6 months when they started doing this…You sort of combine the frustration with the racism in that unit and add in the fact that they weren’t really that well supervised…There’s really clear failures of supervision here. And they were able to plant weapons on Afghans, shoot Afghans, you know, at close range, and concoct fabulous stories about how whoever they just shot was really a Taliban attacker and put all that together.
This most recent attack follows on the heels of a mass Quran burning by NATO soldiers which took place on February 21 at the U.S. airbase in Bagram. The burning sparked enormous waves of protest, as well as reprisal killings carried out by members of the Afghan security forces.
The Taliban has already vowed revenge, asking if there was any other military “in the entire world which gives legality for unstable persons to be armed and drafted into the military and then be given the duty of so-called peacekeeping?”