Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded justice be brought to the US soldier who allegedly carried out an attack in the southern province of Kandahar on Sunday which resulted in the death of 16 civilians.
Afghans are shocked by a killing spree that is thought to have been carried out by a US soldier on Sunday and resulted in the death of 16 civilians. They want to know how an armed soldier was able to leave his base before dawn and attack unarmed men, women and children.
An eyewitness from the village in Kandahar where the crimes took place described the attacker as "brutal," saying he "even burned the bodies" afterward.
"Is this the war against the Taliban? Do small children now count as Taliban fighters?" she asked. "We haven't seen any militants in our village for two months."
Anger and grief are not the only words used to describe what people in Kandahar are feeling. Many feel alone and vulnerable. They demand the culprit be brought to justice.
'Enough is enough'
Afghan lawmakers lambasted the US government during their session on Monday (March 12), which closed earlier than usual out of protest.
"The bloodbath cannot have been carried out by one person alone," said Kandahar representative Mahmud Khan. "We suspect that there were multiple servicemen involved. We demand that the culprits be brought before an Afghan court. We will not accept anything less."
"The US promises a lot but they don't keep those promises," he continued. "This is not the first time that innocent Afghans have been killed by US soldiers. Enough is enough!"
He also said that a simple apology from the US president would not help. "Such empty remarks might be enough to appease the Afghan government, but they cannot placate the people," he said.
The White House announced on Monday that President Barack Obama had offered the US' "full support" over the phone.
Meanwhile, President Hamid Karzai, who is originally from Kandahar, reacted to the crime by promising to do all in his power to bring light to the situation. He also asked the people of Kandahar to keep calm and have faith in his words.
"Officials from a number of ministries have started an investigation," Lutfullah Maschhal, the spokesman for the Afghan secret services, told Deutsche Welle. "The media will find out more as soon as the probe is through."
No 'blood on the carpet'
Generally though the government was rather reticent about the shooting spree. Observers speculated that Kabul does not want to leave any 'blood on the carpet' ahead of important upcoming negotiations on a permanent strategic partnership between Washington and Kabul.
The Taliban, however, has been quite vocal about the incident. "We will punish US soldiers for their crime in Kandahar," they said in one of their statements, which have been published almost hourly.
Author: Ratbil Shamel / sb
Editor: Anne Thomas