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US soldier opens fire on Afghan civilians

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A US soldier has killed more than a dozen civilians in a shooting spree in southern Afghanistan before being detained, officials say.

A member of the Kandahar provincial council who visited the site of the shooting in Panjwai district told Al Jazeera that at least 17 civilians were killed when the soldier left his base early on Sunday morning and opened fire.

Captain Justin Brockhoff, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) could not confirm any fatalities in the incident.

“This is a horrific incident, and our thoughts are with the families of the affected. Our initial reports indicate multiple civilians - between four and six- are wounded. Those civilians are receiving care at coalition medical facilities," he told Al Jazeera.

"At this point we do not have an indication - we can not speculate about the individual's motives."

Sediq Seddiqi, the spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, told Al Jazeera the incident was under investigation. He could not confirm any reports of casualties.

Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith, reporting from Herat, said the soldier opened fire on civilians around the base.

"We are now being told by the police sources that the US soldier left his base at three o clock this morning. It would have been pitch-black wherever he walked," he said.

Civilian casualties have been a major source of friction between President Hamid Karzai's government and US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Anti-American sentiment had already been running high before news of the latest civilian casualties.

Anger gripped the country after US soldiers burned a large number of copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, at a NATO base last month, which NATO said was a tragic blunder.

At least 30 people were killed in protests.

first the Quran burning and now this. this shit's never gonna end, is it.

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loving the war, i'm loving how war's so normalised, it's like it's not really happening, win.

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loving the war, i'm loving how war's so normalised, it's like it's not really happening, win.

it's like it's not happening, or accepted, because australian mainstream media all but ignores it except when australian troops die, then it's like "oh poor brave diggers fighting for our freedom", which is just plain fucking bullshit. whats more bullshit is mainstream australians don't generally know about shit unless the major media outlets tell them, and even then they take the editorial line. fuck australia.

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Man, that US military... is one of the most prejudiced and fucked up cults, ever... seriously, i remember talking to a us marine, he kept referring to ALL muslims as towel-heads, almost like they were inconsequential.

there is so much of america tha't isn't like that, though. alot of them are really, REALLY good righteous people, in contrast to what everyone wants us to believe...

but yeah, that soldier was most likely suffering from either PTSD, or some other mental illness.

^ and yup... australia is actually probably the closest country to being communist without actually being communist.

to be honest this country generally does not have much culture, emotions are swept under the carpet and replaced with material idealisms, it is a country whose every base ancestor was an english convict - disease ridden, 'genetically inferior' populace genetics, all interbred on one island, filtered with different immigrants throughout the centuries.

having said that, this is one of the safest places to live on earth...

our kids can walk alone to school without much fear of being held hostage and ransommed by a feuding family, and we can - and this is a big one - walk the streets at night, practically anywhere, and feel safe.

there's almost no other country in the world like this, except maybe some very easy going parts of canada. and the reality is, we've achieved all this through seclusion from the rest of the world - we are just so isolated where we are, and australias' western society has been born and sculpted over the last few centuries (remember we are still all almost 'immigrants'), and for that everything is very white bread, basic - but effective and clean(er).

it's all just the cost of living here. personally i think westerners have nothing to do with that muslim section of the world, and after 9/11 instead of invading, we should have just said, "sorry osama. we're the better men". and showed the world that we can just move on to other things without being authoritative dickheads.

that's why i hate it when people act all bravo around soldiers. i mean they don't even know the reason they're fighting. "for our country"? what do you mean, for our country? we don't NEED this shit.

our governments egos just liked to have their dicks sucked, i mean get real.

at the end of the day, there's only one thing that rings true;

those with power... ...

Edited by hunnicutt

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We apologise for any inconvenience to those affected.

They sound so sincere!

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Expressions of deep regret by President Obama, Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, and the commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, General John Allen, were met with scorn by the Taliban, who called the Americans cold-blooded murderers.

The soldier, apparently acting alone, left his ISAF base during the Saturday night and went on a stalking mission in the Panjwai district, apparently walking almost two kilometres in the dark before gunning down villagers in the homes as they slept.

“He was walking around taking up positions in the house - in two or three places like he was searching,” 26-year-old witness Mohammad Zahir told AP. Zahir saw his father, who survived, shot in the leg.

Photos of relatives crying over the bodies of executed children may become the defining images of a war many now believe has failed.

Afghanistan’s tolerance for the foreign forces, particularly those from the US, was already at breaking point after copies of the Koran were burned inside a US base at Bagram airfield, and footage emerged of US soldiers urinating on insurgent corpses.

The Pentagon has declined to release the name of the sergeant until charges are laid.

The soldier, reportedly from a base near Seattle, is in detention. He likely suffered a mental breakdown, possibly post-traumatic stress disorder or some form of combat fatigue hyper-vigilance.

But the voice of the Taliban, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, said the Americans were “sick-minded savages” and had no excuse.

“If the perpetrators of this massacre were in fact mentally-ill then this testifies to yet another moral transgression by the American military because they are arming lunatics in Afghanistan who turn their weapons against the defenseless Afghans without giving a second thought,” said the Taliban.

ISAF spokesman Captain John Kirby told CNN that there were no added precautions being taken within coalition bases inside Afghanistan, even though foreign forces are already on high alert after repeated incidents of ANA soldiers firing on ISAF troops inside bases.

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said the US shouldn’t be in Afghanistan because the mission “may not be doable”.

Former presidential candidate and senior Republican figure John McCain said he understood the anger and sorrow of the Afghan people but urged people to remember that the September 11 attacks were generated out of Afghanistan and that the country could return to an Al Qaeda base if the US pulled out now.

The shootings leave Afghan President Hamid Karzai in an almost impossible position. He called the murderous rampage an assassination that “cannot be forgiven”.

There is speculation that the sergeant, a father of two, who reportedly first deployed to Afghanistan in December, may have been reacting against an incident in early March when two US soldiers were killed in a shootout near this weekend’s massacre scene.

Despite some reports, the soldier was neither a Navy SEAL nor a Green Beret, but may have worked with the latter elite unit.

General Allen promised full accountability for the soldier’s actions and tried to insist that trust still existed between the dominant US forces and the Afghan people.

“This deeply appalling incident in no way represents the values of ISAF and coalition troops or the abiding respect we feel for the Afghan people,” General Allen said.

“Nor does it impugn or diminish the spirit of cooperation and partnership we have worked so hard to foster with the Afghan National Security Forces.”

While it was not clear what action the Taliban would take after it swore to “take revenge from the invaders and the savage murderers”, the real question is what the killings mean to the future of the war.


oops, just noticed Qualia already posted this in chill space, probably where i read it in the first place


Edited by nabraxas

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