U.S. soldier who killed 16 Afghans, may now face death penalty



US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta says soldier alleged to have murdered 17 Afghan civilians could face the death penalty. Via @LATimesworld

— Phillip Coulter (@PhillipCoulter) March 13, 2012

Here’s the report from MSNBC:

U.S. officials have said the soldier acted alone, leaving his base in southern Afghanistan and opening fire on sleeping families. After the massacre, he went back to his base and turned himself in, officials said.
The military will not identify the soldier until charges are filed, Pentagon spokesman William Speaks told msnbc.com Monday. The suspect remains in Afghanistan while the attack is being investigated.
According to military officials, the soldier will be tried within the military justice system, not turned over to Afghan authorities for trial, rebuffing a call from Afghan lawmakers to use their courts.

The original story:

A U.S. soldier has reportedly killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan after suffering a supposed mental breakdown. He left his military base, entered homes and started opening fire on children, women and everything in sight.

“This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved,” a statement from ISAF said.


The suspect is a U.S. Army Sergeant attached to a unit out of Fort Lewis in Washington state. He apparently walked a mile from his base to the Panjwai district of Kandahar and killed at least 16 civilians there, 9 of which were children. The suspect then set the bodies on fire.

NYT has some new details on the killings in Afghanistan by the U.S. soldier. http://t.co/EltdYiB4

— Robert Loerzel (@robertloerzel) March 11, 2012

AP source: Afghanistan suspect from Wash. state: http://t.co/U5Y0LEvH

— Detroit Free Press (@freep) March 11, 2012

The Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement, as did the U.S. Army.

Officials Condemn Afghanistan Shooting, Offer Condolences http://t.co/OUK8D3PT

— The Joint Staff (@thejointstaff) March 11, 2012

Army statement on incident in Kandahar, Afghanistan: http://t.co/sCPMrvoD

— U.S. Army (@USArmy) March 11, 2012

President Obama also called President Karzai to express “his shock and sadness”.

President Obama has called President Karzai to express his shock and sadness at the killing of Afghan civilians in Kandahar province

— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 11, 2012

Reaction on Twitter to the reports has been divided between those expressing their sympathy and anger and those making political statements.

This is the Tet moment in #Afghanistan. The string of recent incidents will send public opinion in both countries into permanent decline.

— Philip J. Crowley (@PJCrowley) March 11, 2012


Wow. #anger #sadness #thisshouldnothavehappened >> Sixteen Afghan civilians killed in rogue U.S. attack http://t.co/AgWBoYqT via @reuters

— Namira Islam (@namirari) March 11, 2012

So @PJCrowley is rightly calling this the Tet moment in Afghanistan. I'd clarify by calling it the My Lai moment.

— Doug Saunders (@DougSaunders) March 11, 2012

Now Google News is calling the drunk shooter in Afghanistan a "rogue." Was he in any sense a, you know…a "terrorist?"

— Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) March 11, 2012

The US soldier's killing spree in Afghanistan is not aberrant but consistent with the brutality of military occupation. http://t.co/DtG4wbL6

— Gary Younge (@garyyounge) March 11, 2012

There's been a killing spree in #Afghanistan for 10 years, dude.

— Mike Prysner (@MikePrysner) March 11, 2012

Michael Yon, the mil-blogger, has been to Afghanistan several times and knows the area where the shootings happened. Here are some of his thoughts.

Death Toll said to be at least 16 Panjway has been a terrible place for Canadians and for us. Extremely… http://t.co/MscQUCNd

— Michael Yon (@Michael_Yon) March 11, 2012

Kandahar Now Am told that it's quiet downtown other than thunderstorm. No doubt that lots of Afghans are home… http://t.co/RnF2La8i

— Michael Yon (@Michael_Yon) March 11, 2012

My trip to Panjway This is the area of the murders. I drove there last February without troops. Panjway is… http://t.co/TMBZwSrn

— Michael Yon (@Michael_Yon) March 11, 2012

Strange Circumstance Something seems extraordinary about this case. The only US forces I know in the immediate… http://t.co/Rlnwa2tn

— Michael Yon (@Michael_Yon) March 11, 2012

Curiouser and Curiouser If one guy pulled all this off, he's a real killer and knows his way around the block…. http://t.co/DMJEYMoC

— Michael Yon (@Michael_Yon) March 11, 2012

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/03/12/u-s-soldier-kills-several-afghan-civilians/