Two US soldiers in Afghan civilian massacre?

This video is called Merkel visits Afghanistan amid rage against NATO.

From CBS in the USA, about Afghanistan:

Nine of the 16 civilians killed on Sunday in Balandi and Alkozai villages were children and three were women, according to the Afghan president. Some of their bodies were burnt after they were killed.

The U.S. has an Army staff sergeant in custody who is suspected of carrying out Sunday’s pre-dawn killings but has not released his name.

Villagers have described the gunman stalking from house to house in the middle of the night, opening fire on sleeping families and then burning some of the dead bodies.

Witnesses interviewed by The Associated Press after the attack described only one shooter, and U.S. officials have been adamant that there was only one soldier involved.

But on Tuesday, villagers who testified to the delegation insisted there were two soldiers, citing relatives who survived the attacks.

Mohammad Wazir, who was away from his home in Balandi village that night, said his sister saw two U.S. soldiers enter the house and start shooting. Everyone started running different directions, and she ran to the kitchen to hide. When the gunfire ended and she re-emerged, 11 of her relatives were dead.

In Alkozai to the south, a man named Sayed Jan said his cousins told him that they saw two soldiers come into his house and start firing. Jan’s relatives barricaded their door and snuck out another exit. Jan was away in Kandahar city that night.

The villages are about 40 miles southwest of Kandahar city.

The villagers’ anger was evident in discussions with the visiting officials before the attack cut the visit short.

“Today, the Kandahar governor was trying to explain to the villagers that he was only one soldier, that he was not a sane person and that he was sick,” said Abdul Rahim Ayubi, a Kandahar lawmaker who was part of the delegation.

“But the people were just shouting and they were very angry. They didn’t listen to the governor. They accused him of defending the Americans instead of defending the Kandahari people,” Ayubi said.

Also from CBS:

The gunbattle came as images of the aftermath of Sunday’s killings spread across the country, and the public reaction — which at first seemed surprisingly muted — began to build.

In the east, students staged the first significant protest in response to the killings, raising concerns about a repeat of the wave of violent demonstrations that rocked the nation after last month’s burning of Korans by troops at a U.S. base.

Burning an effigy of President Obama and chanting “Death to America,” the protesters in the city of Jalalabad demanded the accused U.S. soldier face a public trial in their own country, Clark reports.

See also here.

Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times News Service: “The Obama administration is discussing whether to reduce American forces in Afghanistan by at least an additional 20,000 troops by 2013, reflecting a growing belief within the White House that the mission there has now reached the point of diminishing returns”: here.

Britain: Three-quarters of public believe war in Afghanistan is unwinnable: here.

Stick to the plan in bloodsoaked Afghanistan, David Cameron insists – but pollsters revealed today Britain officially wants the troops home now: here.

The killing of innocent Afghans must end – and not just at the hands of “lone gunmen.” That was the message as Afghans gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square last night after a US soldier killed 16 civilians in a shooting rampage in southern Kandahar on Sunday: here.

Afghan Massacre: After Losing Homes in NATO Attacks, Victims Moved Near U.S. Base Hoping for Safety: here.

Was Soldier-Shooter in Afghanistan Redeployed With PTSD? Ralph Lopez, War Is A Crime: “The Army is keeping mum on whether the Army sergeant who went on a rampage in Afghanistan has ever been evaluated or asked for evaluation for PTSD, but it is well known that in recent years the culture of the military has been to sweep such problems under the rug, in order to redeploy as many soldiers as possible. The Army has acknowledged that the soldier had been diagnosed with a ‘traumatic brain injury’ after a vehicle rollover in Iraq”: here.

The LEFT condemns assassination attack on women’s rights activist Malalai Joya in Afghanistan: here.

USA: This week, peace groups around the country are calling Congress with the message: end the Afghanistan war now! Call your Representative at 877-429-0678 and tell him or her to support and co-sponsor H. 780, which would limit funding for the war to funds that are necessary for a safe and orderly withdrawal. Check the link to see whether your Rep is already a co-sponsor–if so, thank him or her for their support, and tell them to everything in their power to promote the bill and its mission: here.

Afghanistan and pipelines: here.

10 thoughts on “Two US soldiers in Afghan civilian massacre?

  1. Army officer charged with harassment at Wash. base

    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — An Army officer in Washington state threatened to blow up the state capitol and kill his superior officer, his estranged wife and his girlfriend, authorities said Tuesday, adding scrutiny to the troubled base of a soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting spree.

    Lt. Col. Robert E. Underwood, who was arrested Monday night and pleaded not guilty to felony harassment charges, told his girlfriend he’d paid a hit man $150,000 to kill both his wife and superior officer, according to court documents.

    Underwood threatened to kill the girlfriend after she confronted him about a naked photograph of his daughter on his laptop computer, the documents said. And he reportedly threatened to blow up the state capitol in Olympia, Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said, although no charges have been filed on those accusations.

    “We charged him with three counts of felony harassment. That’s what the evidence supports, that’s what we can prove,” he said. “But it’s an ongoing investigation.”

    Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a sprawling base south of Seattle, is already under scrutiny this week because a soldier based there has been held in Afghanistan following the massacre that left 16 Afghan civilians dead in two villages.

    The name of the 38-year-old soldier in custody at a base in Kandahar has not been released pending charges. The soldier was deployed to Afghanistan on Dec. 3 with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, according to a congressional source, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

    Authorities did not release information about Underwood’s unit. A Lewis-McChord spokesman did not immediately provide that information.

    Underwood was being held in the Pierce County jail on $250,000 bail after entering a not guilty plea during his Superior Court arraignment on Tuesday, Lindquist said.

    Lindquist said Underwood has been deployed multiple times and the military has concluded he does not suffer PTSD, though there may be other mental health issues to be considered.

    According to court documents, Underwood witnessed his mother kill his two siblings when he was a young child, and she shot Underwood multiple times and left him for dead.

    It’s not clear whether Underwood actually went through the plan to hire a hit man, Lindquist said.

    Underwood and his wife have been going through a divorce, and recent court hearings regarding money and custody of their children had not gone in his favor.

    “The victims obviously had a concern that he meant it, but we don’t know what steps, if any, were actually taken,” Lindquist said.

    Underwood faces up to five years in prison, but standard sentencing range would be between four and twelve months, he said.

    (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


  2. Officials consider US military deal

    RUSSIA: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared on Wednesday that a proposed deal allowing the United States to use a Russian air base for transit of troops and military cargo to and from Afghanistan will help ensure Russia’s own security.

    Mr Lavrov said the agreement permitting the US to use the air base in Ulyanovsk on the Volga would soon be considered by the Russian cabinet. Moscow has previously provided the US and other Nato states with air corridors and railway routes for carrying supplies to and from Afghanistan.

    If approved the US would be able to set up a logistics facility for troops and cargo on Russian territory for the first time.


  3. Tell the 1%:
    Not one more atrocity –
    U.S. OUT of Afghanistan!
    Money for jobs, not war and occupation!

    DEMONSTRATE wherever you are, and let us know at!

    ► D E M O N S T R A T I O N ♦

    Thursday ♦ MARCH 15

    Times Square ♦ 5 p.m. ⇔ 6 p.m.

    Called by the International Action Center

    The blood-curdling action of a U.S. sergeant who stormed into the homes of Afghan civilians and blew away 16 people, including children, is not an isolated one as the Pentagon war makers are projecting. Even President Barack Obama’s “apology” cannot hide the fact that maintaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan is the broader crime.

    This heinous act is the culmination of 10 years of U.S. war atrocities against the Afghan people. It’s not that slaughtering unarmed civilians including children up close is more criminal than bombing them from a helicopter or a drone. But this recent massacre has exposed the true nature of the crime of occupation before the world – even before the people of the United States.

    So many horrible acts by U.S. troops have been blamed by the Pentagon brass on the individual soldier’s state of mind. But they all fit a tragic pattern rooted in colonial occupations. Soldiers urinating on the bodies of captured Afghans showed the utmost contempt for the people the White House claims to be helping. Burning the Quran showed contempt for their beliefs. And now, breaking into their homes and murdering children breaks down all boundaries to unspeakable horror.

    Editorials in the big business press express the trepidation that the people of the U.S. are fed up with this war, and will demand it stop especially in the midst of no jobs; massive foreclosures; closings of schools, health care facilities and more – all caused by a global capitalist economic crisis that only benefits the bankers and bosses – the 1%.

    The top generals and politicians are making a desperate attempt to buy more time in Afghanistan by talking about executing the soldier charged with this heinous slaughter.

    The generals may try to scapegoat the sergeant, but the higher the rank, the more true responsibility exists for the crime.

    These soldiers have been trained to become professional killers with the help of racist indoctrination from their superiors against the Afghan people. It is no wonder that the Afghan people feel such deep hatred and disgust for their occupiers.

    U.S. soldiers have a moral and political obligation to refuse criminal orders to oppress the Afghan people – and mutiny. U.S. soldiers need to be brought home NOW and provided with mental and physical health care, good paying jobs and full benefits like all workers need and deserve.

    Mobilize in the streets to end occupation abroad & at home

    From Palestine to Afghanistan, racist violence is the lifeblood of any occupation. This truth also holds in the police-occupied neighborhoods in the U.S. – in the Bronx, the south side of Chicago, Miami, D.C., etc. The 99% here are natural allies with the 99% in Afghanistan and all over the world, and we all have the same enemy, whose headquarters are located just south of Zuccotti Park.

    The time is now to get out to the people and mobilize them to demand that U.S. and NATO troops leave Afghanistan now.
    On March 23-25, organizers will attend the United National Antiwar Coalition’s national conference in Stamford, Conn., to plan the next steps against this war.

    On May 20, anti-war forces will gather in Chicago to confront the top meeting of NATO. U.S. and other NATO generals and leaders – those who give the orders to kill – will be there in one place.

    Join the International Action Center and its allies to tell them:

    U.S.- NATO troops get out!

    Washington, pay reparations to the Afghan people!


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