President Karzai casts doubts on US version of Afghan village massacre
Afghan President says US has not co-operated with his investigations and he questions whether there was only one attacker
The President of Afghanistan warned he was frustrated over western killings of civilians, as he accused the US of obstructing an Afghan investigation into the massacre of 16 civilians last Sunday.
At a meeting with the investigation team and family members of the victims, most of them women and children, Hamid Karzai asked the army chief of staff to investigate villagers’ claims that there was more than one attacker – contradicting the official US version of events. He also confirmed a demand made on Thursday that foreign forces leave Afghan villages.
“This has been going on for too long. You have heard me before, therefore, it is by all means the end of the rope here,” he said of the killings, which he described as the latest of “hundreds” of such incidents nationwide. “This form of activity, this behaviour, cannot be tolerated.” he said.
Karzai has always been outspoken about civilian deaths at the hands of foreign troops. But the latest broadside comes as his financial and military backers are grappling with the implosion of their strategy for Afghanistan. His words are likely to put more strain on the relationship between Washington and Kabul that some feel is already in crisis.
His call for an investigation into whether more than one person was behind the massacre implies that he does not trust the US military or political hierarchy to tell the truth about the killings.
“On the question of the account of the one person, supposedly, who has done this, the story of the village elders [in the Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province] and the affected people is entirely different. They believe it is not possible for one person to do that,” Karzai told journalists after the meeting.
Many people in Afghanistan believe the US staff sergeant detained over the shootings did not act alone. “When I saw my wife’s body, her hand had been cut off. This was not the work of one person,” a man from a family who lost 11 members told the meeting. “Helicopters were over the village … we have witnesses that saw it was more than one person,” he added, although, like all those who testified, he did not personally witness the attack.
read more, from the guardian, uk
Up to 20 U.S. troops involved in Kandahar massacre — Afghan probe
However, there are apparently a further 2 or 3 hours of video footage covering the time of the attack and Afghan investigators are still trying to get this footage from the US military
By Anne Sewell
An Afghan parliamentary investigation team has spent 2 days collating reports from survivors, witnesses and other inhabitants in the villages where the massacre took place. 16 civilians were killed including 9 children.
Investigator Hamizai Lali told Afghan News: “We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within 1 hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups.”
He also said that their investigations led to them to believe 15 to 20 US soldiers had been involved in the killings.
As per an earlier Digital Journal report, according to an Afghan official who viewed the footage, a US surveillance video caught the solder walking up to his base, laying down his weapon and raising his arms in surrender. US authorities showed this footage to the Afghans to prove that only 1 soldier was involved in the shootings.
However, there are apparently a further 2 or 3 hours of video footage covering the time of the attack and Afghan investigators are still trying to get this footage from the US military.
Sayed Ishaq Gillani, the head of the Afghan parliamentary investigation, told the BBC that witnesses report seeing helicopters dropping chaff during the attack, a measure used to hide targets from ground attack.
He also added that the locals suspect that the massacre was in revenge for attacks carried out last week on U.S. forces that left several soldiers injured.
Read more, from the revolutionary association of the women of afghanistan