Killing of 16 Afghan Civilians Impossible to Forgive says Seraj
3.11.2012 Southern Afghanistan in Kandahar province. A US soldier went methodically from house to house in a killing spree, leaving 16 dead, 9 were children, and five people wounded, plunging already strained US and Afghan relations even lower.
- In an interview with CNN, Prince Ali Seraj, head of the National Coalition for Dialogue, said the Afghans could withstand a lot of pain, night raids and collateral damage but, " murder is something that they totally abhor," and added that they will now want justice. The Afgan President of the Coalition for Dialogue with Tribes of Afghanistan also added that the killings of 16 people, including 9 children, "is impossible to forgive."
Prince Ali received his education in Afghanistan and in the United States at the University of Connecticut according to the National Coalition for Dialogue with Tribes of Afghanistan website, earning degrees in Economics and Business/Public management.
- Afghan Haji Samad, lost 11 family members and Haji Sayed lost 4 according to BBC News. The soldier, who is said to have suffered a mental breakdown before the killings, handed himself over to US military authorities. Concerns emerged over why no one witnessed the signs of this man's mental deterioration and why he left the Kabul US military base unnoticed and armed in the early hours of Sunday morning.
- This recent killing spree adds to already tender relations between the US and Afghanistan. Last month soldiers were accused of burning the Quran and a video released earlier allegedly showed US soldiers urinating on the bodies of slain Taliban members according to a report by ABC news.
- In a phone call to the Afghan president, Harmid Karzai, US president Barack Obama said, "‘This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan,’’ according to an Australian newspaper, The Age and The Times of India.
- In a report on the Quran burnings in Afghanistan, Aljazeera stated that in the the previous 10 years of US army occupation , "the West has promised social and political development, as well as Afghan self-determination. It has instead delivered violence and incompetent, corrupt governance. In the rush for an exit, it will leave behind a civil war." These words take on a new significance in light of yesterday's civilian killings. US Troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by 2014.
- Due to anticipated protests in the area, the US Government has advised against travel to Afghanistan, the US Government's Travel Warning webpage had not been updated to include Afghanistan as of 8:48am, March 12, 2012, Syria still topped the list.
- The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against travel to Afghanistan, stating "we advise against all travel to specific regions of Afghanistan and against all but essential travel to other specific regions of Afghanistan."
- The Australian government's Smart Traveler website has advised against travel to Afghanistan since 22 February 2012.
- The Canadian government issued similar warnings for its citizens.
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