US Soldier Who Allegedly Killed Civilians Flown Out of Afghanistan

Afghans in Jalalabad  burn an effigy depicting U.S. President Barack Obama following Sunday's killing of civilians in Panjwai by a U.S. soldier.
Afghans in Jalalabad burn an effigy depicting U.S. President Barack Obama following Sunday's killing of civilians in Panjwai by a U.S. soldier.
Luis Ramirez

The U.S. military announced Wednesday that it has moved an army soldier suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians in a rampage out of Afghanistan.

Charges have yet to be filed against a U.S. Army staff sergeant who witnesses say left his base in Kandahar province and went on a shooting rampage in two villages, killing 16 civilians, including several children.

A U.S. service member's shooting rampage Sunday in a rural Afghan village is the latest strain on an often tense relationship between Washington and Kabul. These are other key incidents to have sparked discord:

February 20, 2012: U.S. soldiers burn copies of the Quran, said to be filled with extremist messages, in a landfill at the U.S. Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. The burning sparks days of deadly anti-American protests across the country, leaving more than 30 Afghans and American soldiers dead.

January 11, 2012: A video surfaces on the Internet showing what appears to be four U.S. marines urinating on the bodies of three suspected Taliban fighters. In the less than minute-long video, a soldier is heard saying, "Have a great day, buddy."

May 4, 2009: The Afghan government says a U.S. airstrike targeting Taliban insurgents in western Afghanistan kills at least 140 civilians, including many children, in the village of Granai.

July 6, 2008: A U.S. air strike thought be targeting insurgents strikes a caravan of Afghan civilians traveling to a wedding. The attack kills 47 people, including 39 women and children.

Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby says U.S. forces moved him out of Afghanistan because they do not have the proper detention facilities.  Kirby says the soldier's safety was also a factor.

"He's been in an interim facility since then at Kandahar, and now we have to, by our own policies and regulations, and for his own safety and security, and to be appropriately available to investigators, we had to move him to appropriate detention facilities," he said.

U.S. officials did not say where the suspect was taken, but that he was not returned to the United States.  Officials are withholding his identity until charges are filed.

Some officials in the Afghan government have demanded that the soldier be tried in Afghanistan.  U.S. officials say the case will be handled by the U.S. military justice system.

The transfer was announced as U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was on a visit to Afghanistan.

On his way to the region this week, Panetta said the soldier could face execution, if he is found guilty.

In a separate development, U.S. officials say an Afghan civilian stole a pickup truck from a coalition soldier and sped across a tarmac at a military base in southern Afghanistan as Panetta’s airplane was landing.

Officials say the suspect’s clothes caught fire after the truck crashed into a ditch, but that the secretary was not in danger.


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Comments page of 2
by: Bystander
March 14, 2012 2:24 PM
It's unfortunate to see one soldier's unforgivable act undermine a country (and NATO)'s effort into bringing stability to a region in dire need. We may question the Afghanistan mission as a whole but this is exactly the type of action that helps to fuel this conflict. An expedient and decisive trial of this soldier should send a message to troops that they are not above the law and that they are upheld to a higher standard when deployed into such complex conflicts.

by: Tom Matlack
March 14, 2012 2:01 PM
For a riveting on the ground report on just what is going on in Afghanistan and why we seem to have learned nothing from 10 years in Iraq, read Pulitzer prize nominated Michael Kamber's piece and look at his amazing photos published today:

by: Amir
March 14, 2012 1:49 PM
@11th acr black horse reg 67 68,
Being an uneducated Afgan, do you think you could write in English? It would make it much easier for me to understand.
Thank you.

by: Paddy O
March 14, 2012 12:59 PM
It's really time for us to leave. There is nothing more we can do there to help anything. Afghanistan will always remain a failed state and it's solely because of it's people; not us, not the Soviets, not England, not Pakistan, nobody else to blame but the Afghans themselves. We need to stop wasting all the money we are borrowing from China on this mess and let the be miserable on their own.

by: hamad part 1 of 3
March 14, 2012 9:38 AM
Panetta has disclosed recently the real face of Obama administration which does not care about US constitution and the congress . Occurring Afghans massacre after burning Quran casts heavy doubt on sly intention of this escalation . Who committed this massacre and who allowed him to leave his military bases without observation should be held accountability for this bloodshed . The commanders of American soldiers in war zone knew how much pressure those soldier

by: rgw46
March 14, 2012 6:32 AM
Do not like what has happened..BUT..Has anyone told these people..educated them enough to understand the TALIBAN and there own croonies have killed thousands..and sorry I still see thousands of our people and remember 9/11..welcome to WAR... SH...Happens

by: Matt Miller
March 14, 2012 6:13 AM
There was a time i had respect for Leon. Not only does he howl about a 5% cut in a 800 BILLION dollar budget NOW he defends staying in this cesspool we call Afghanistan. What is it with our government where we can't fix our own Post office, can't stop making a penny that costs 1.4 cents to make, but insists on telling other countries what to do? ~ We have become idiots since the Contract on America in the early 90's. Both parties are willing to fight wars for Israel.

by: jacko4179420
March 14, 2012 5:36 AM
Vietnam Lt. Calley's syndrom

by: Echoes
March 14, 2012 4:11 AM
Numerous atrocities committed by the Taliban against civilians and those soldiers supporting the Afghan Government is irrefutable.The Taliban will evade justice unlike the soldier now in custody who faces trial. Clear policies and thinking on PTSD is required to reduce this risk.

by: 11th acr black horse reg 67 68
March 14, 2012 3:11 AM
what about afgans doing it to there own war is hell been there viet nam. ptsd is bad it wouldnt have happend if we werent playing police men. iv not seen ben ladens body have you. politics? buried at sea?ya right. seen alot done alot viet nam. let our boys fight. not tie there hands like nam seems we forgot the beheading of our people. blank blank.
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