Afghan parliamentary team says many Americans were involved in massacre in which army accuses one
Mar 17, 2012 05:35 pm | Annie Robbins
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, suspected in the shooting of 16 civilians in Afghanistan NBC NEWS
The US soldier allegedly responsible for the massacre of 16 civilians in Afghanistan has been identified as Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.
Bales, 38, was deployed to Afghanistan in December with the 3rd Stryker Brigade, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Tacoma, Wash., the officials said.
Bales, a native of Ohio, has been based at Lewis-McChord his entire career. He and his family reportedly lived not too far from the base and have family roots in western Washington. Bales’ wife is said to be an executive at a Seattle-area company.
Brown said the suspect’s family will remain on base for the foreseeable future for their own protection. Bales was reportedly en route to the United States on Friday.
He has two children.
Directly after the incident, Reuters reported multiple witnesses claimed multiple soldiers were present at the scenes and carried out the crime. The acclaimed Pajhwok Afghan News (initially funded by USAID, its co-founder Farida Nekzad, won the 2008 International Women's Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award) is reporting, Up to 20 US troops executed Panjwai massacre: probe :
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): A parliamentary probe team on Thursday said up to 20 American troops were involved in Sunday’s killing of 16 civilians in southern Kandahar province.
The probing delegation includes [several members of the National Assembly of Afghanistan] lawmakers Hamidzai Lali, Abdul Rahim Ayubi, Shakiba Hashimi, Syed Mohammad Akhund and Bismillah Afghanmal, all representing Kandahar province at the Wolesi Jirga and Abdul Latif Padram, a lawmaker from northern Badakhshan province, Mirbat Mangal, Khost province, Muhammad Sarwar Usmani, Farah province.
The team spent two days in the province, interviewing the bereaved families, tribal elders, survivors and collecting evidences at the site in Panjwai district.
Hamizai Lali told Pajhwok Afghan News their investigation showed there were 15 to 20 American soldiers, who executed the brutal killings.
“We closely examined the site of the incident, talked to the families who lost their beloved ones, the injured people and tribal elders,” he said.
He added the attack lasted one hour involving two groups of American soldiers in the middle of the night on Sunday.
This report should surprise no one following bulletins from Afghanistan over the last few days. Locals have insisted all along there were multiple soldiers involved, and the anger has spread since the attack. Militants launched an attack on a government delegation visiting Panjwai on Tuesday when two of President Hamid Karzai's brothers and several top security officials were visiting. Effigies of Obama were burned, one Afghan soldier was killed as well as three militants. On the same day in the city of Jalalabad 600 students took to the streets condemning the Kandahar slaughter and chanting "Death to America! Death to Obama!"
The Taliban has announced they have called off 'peace talks'. They have suspended all dialogue with Americans. Thursday President Karzai told the US it must pull back its troops from village areas and allow Afghan forces to take the lead in security. Yesterday the BBC reported that Karzai accused the US of not fully co-operating with a probe into the killings.
The BBC's Bilal Sarwary:'Effigies of Obama were burned'
A member of the delegation, Abdul Rahim Ayubi, told AP the governor was trying to explain to locals that the shooting was an isolated incident.
"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," Mr Ayubi said.
Anti-US sentiment is already high in Afghanistan after soldiers burned some copies of the Koran at a Nato base in Kabul last month, sparking deadly riots across the country.
The Taliban has renewed threats of revenge attacks, saying it would behead "sadistic" American soldiers.
It sounds like the people of Afghanistan are fed up and not backing down.
Lali asked the Afghan government, the United Nations and the international community to ensure the perpetrators were punished in Afghanistan.
He expressed his anger that the US soldier, the prime suspect in the shooting, had been flown out of Afghanistan to Kuwait.
He said the people they met had warned if the responsible troops were not punished, they would launch a movement against Afghans who had agreed to foreign troops’ presence in Afghanistan under the first Bonn conference in 2001.
The lawmaker said the Wolesi Jirga would not sit silent until the killers were prosecuted in Afghanistan. "If the international community does not play its role in punishing the perpetrators, the Wolesi Jirga would declare foreign troops as occupying forces, like the Russians," Lali warned.
Nothing about the Afghan parliamentary probe in the US media. No surprise here.