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.


This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs