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Gunmen Target Afghan Delegation Visiting Massacre Site

Afghan security forces are seen after Taliban militants opened fire on delegation of senior Afghan officials in Panjwai, Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, March. 13, 2012.
Afghan security forces are seen after Taliban militants opened fire on delegation of senior Afghan officials in Panjwai, Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, March. 13, 2012.

In Afghanistan Tuesday, Taliban militants attacked a memorial service for 16 villagers allegedly killed by a U.S. service member, killing an Afghan soldier and wounding a policeman. 

The shooting began as members of a delegation from Kabul, including two of President Hamid Karzai's brothers and provincial government officials, attended a memorial service for the victims of Sunday's attack by a U.S. soldier in Kandahar.  While the security detail suffered some casualties, members of the delegation escaped injury and returned safely to Kandahar city.

The Taliban had vowed to avenge the massacre of 16 Afghans, many of them women and children.

Retaliation

Candace Rondeaux, a security analyst with the International Crisis Group in Kabul, says it is both ironic and not surprising that the Taliban would attempt retaliatory strikes for the killing of civilians.

“They have been responsible for the vast majority of civilian deaths in Afghanistan over the years, but they do have a much more command of the propaganda value of these events than I think international forces do, and they do find ways to exploit these kinds of moments,” Rondeaux said.

Also Tuesday, hundreds of university students in the eastern city of in Jalalabad protested the killings.  Some of the demonstrators chanted "Death to America” and "Death to Obama."

U.S. officials had warned the incident could lead to a surge in anti-American violence in the war-torn country.  But the response so far has been muted compared with the public outrage that followed last month’s inadvertent burning of Qurans at an American military base.  That led to a week of violent protests and deadly attacks against U.S. forces.

Still, the brewing public anger could affect relations between the two countries as they work to develop a strategic partnership that will define the U.S. role in Afghanistan after the scheduled 2014 withdrawal of most combat troops.

Suspect


The Afghan parliament has demanded that the American soldier implicated in Sunday's attack be tried in public in Afghanistan. The United States has said he will be subject to U.S. military law, and that he could face execution if convicted.

Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, says jurisdiction over international forces in Afghanistan is governed by an existing technical agreement.

“The legal status of the soldiers of International Security Assistance Force is clearly regulated in the military technical agreement between Afghanistan and the international community,” explained Jacobson.

The issue of granting legal immunity to American troops could become an obstacle in the development of a long-term Afghan-U.S. strategic partnership agreement.  Disagreement over the issue of immunity for U.S. forces was a key reason why the United States was unable to reach a strategic pact with Iraq.

US options

Rondeaux says while rising anti-American sentiment may not accelerate the 2014 timeline for transferring security responsibility to Afghan security forces, it has put the U.S. in a much weaker bargaining position.

“What has happened really is there has been, I think, a sort of sudden realization on the part of the United States, on the part of NATO partners who are in the coalition, that they've lost their leverage," Rondeaux said. "The closer they get to 2014, their ability to influence the situation in Afghanistan politically, economically or otherwise really is going to be strongly diminished.”

Sunday's shooting could also negate any goodwill created by an agreement reached Friday to hand over control of a U.S. military prison to Afghan authorities. The issue had been another key obstacle to finalizing a strategic partnership agreement.

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by: Roger C
March 13, 2012 3:01 PM
Take all these jerks and line em' up. I'll pull the trigger! For Free!

by: jose
March 13, 2012 11:51 AM
If hitler was reincarnated and went on another blitzkreig the U.S. would be like lets negotiate with him cause we don't have the stomach for war anymore we'll win him over with our hearts and minds, He would slaughter us like lambs just like muslim terrorist due.

by: Haron
March 13, 2012 9:54 AM
really we appreciate president Barak Obama, because other countries want to escape from Afg. but some of them want to support Taliban in behind. Like UK, Pakistan, Iran, Arab leagues & might be Uzbekistan but if president Obama doesn't support 2014 presidential election or doesn't support Anti-Taliban or not stay at Afg till we should build weapons it is an anguish to our people

by: william
March 13, 2012 9:21 AM
The russians learned a lessen in the armpit of a place called afghanistan, And the U.S. is taking another thumping like vietnam, We call it a war but our politcians call it humanitarian aid and lets face it, Our nation is to PC to ever win another war, They don't want us there, Lets get out now and save some face, The U.S. no longer has the guts to fight an all out war.

by: Heather
March 13, 2012 9:07 AM
I think the U.S. should turn the soldier over to the Afghanis and let them decide how he should be punished. He committed an outrageous & horrendous crime in another country and he shouldn't have the privilege of American Laws protecting him, he has no right to a trial where he will be “innocent until proven guilty” Obama is making this worse by telling those people they are investigating what happened. What is there to investigate? He killed in cold blood.

by: afghan
March 13, 2012 8:43 AM
americans just leave our country and get out we dont need ur help .. is this why you u came to our country to kill childrens is this called help ???????? what if afghans do like this with americans kids what would u guys do ????? where is human rights now ??? and this kind of attacks shows that americans are killers of inocent people ..leave our country and get out

by: zak
March 13, 2012 4:59 AM
this is totally wrong. a US gun man goes out of his base an kills woman an children in their bed while they are sleeping. If an afghan does it they say it was terrorist but wen a trained respected and matured age surgent does it its called Head Injury. If he had a head injury and was not in a good condition why the hell he was send from one war torn country to another.

apologies doesn't do much for a family who lost an entire family. court marshal is not good enough.

by: Cha Cha Cohen
March 13, 2012 2:57 AM
The cause of 9/11 is disputed, but again if current thinking is right it was caused by Saudis( e.g.Bin Laden) why on earth Iraq, and Afganistan paying the price! The world is in the hands of unjust people. Lets pray for sanity and peace on earth!

by: Cha Cha Cohen
March 13, 2012 2:57 AM
The cause of 9/11 is disputed, but again if current thinking is right it was caused by Saudis( e.g.Bin Laden) why on earth Iraq, and Afganistan paying the price! The world is in the hands of unjust people. Lets pray for sanity and peace on earth!

by: enefaaaah enefaaaah
March 13, 2012 2:27 AM
I support the President's view. This President has worked so hard to stabilise that region after blair and bush messed up; these sour lossers and their underdogs trying to do vietnam on this President and the USA' peaceful effort. I am with President Barack Obama and the Peace loving US people and the good peace keeping personnel in that region and all places.
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