March 12, 20112
The Taliban has called for revenge following the massacre of 16 civilians in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan, allegedly by a U.S. soldier on a rampage. The Taliban posted a message on their website denouncing the “barbaric actions” of “sick-minded American savages” and said they would seek revenge.
“Is there any 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?” the group asked.
The Afghan Parliament has also called for immediate action. “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 latest incident follows the burning of the Koran at Bagram airfield by U.S. soldiers. The desecration of the Islamic holy book led to violent protests and resulted in the removal of hundreds of foreign advisers from Afghan ministries following the fatal reprisal shooting of two American officers.
Afghans were also outraged by a video showing American soldiers urinating on the dead bodies of Taliban fighters.
Some Afghans insist the as of yet named soldier did not act alone and say other troops were involved in the massacre.
A senior American military official told the New York Times the sergeant accused in the killings was attached to a unit based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a major Army and Air Force installation near Tacoma, Washington. He was part of a “village stabilization operation” conducted by Green Berets, although the soldier in question was reportedly not a Green Beret.