News

    US Officials: Afghan Killings May Fuel More Anti-American Sentiment

    US soldiers keep watch at the entrance of a military base near Alkozai village following the shooting of Afghan civilians allegedly committed by a rogue US soldier in Panjwayi. NATO's International Security Assistance Force said it had arrested a soldier
    US soldiers keep watch at the entrance of a military base near Alkozai village following the shooting of Afghan civilians allegedly committed by a rogue US soldier in Panjwayi. NATO's International Security Assistance Force said it had arrested a soldier

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Afghan and NATO authorities are continuing to investigate the actions of a U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians and then setting many of the bodies on fire on Sunday. While no major protests over the incident occurred on Monday, authorities worry it could further fuel public opposition to foreign troops.   

    Villagers who witnessed the attack in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province say they saw a U.S. soldier shooting the victims, many of whom where women and children, as they slept. Some of the bodies were also partially burned indicating that the perpetrator set them on fire.

    One man who lost his family explained to reporters what happened.

    He says as he started to fire a dog ran toward him and he shot the dog, then he entered the house, rounded all family members in one room and martyred all of them.

    President Karzai called the attack, “an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven.” President Barack Obama called the attack "tragic and shocking" and not representative of "the exceptional character of the U.S. military.

    Listen to analysis by South Asia expert Taj Hashmi

    Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, says the shootings in Kandahar are being investigated as a murder, and not part of any military operation. “Those who suffered as innocent citizens of Kandahar are not civilian casualties from military activity, they are victims,” he stated.

    U.S. officials identified an army staff sergeant as the shooter and said he acted alone. But some villagers and Afghan officials are skeptical that one soldier could have amassed such a death toll on his own, and others may haven been involved.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai also raised doubts in a statement in which he at first confirmed that a single U.S. gunman was responsible but later referred to “American forces” entering houses.

    There is great concern that the incident could fuel public outrage similar to last month’s inadvertent burning of Qurans at an American military base. That led to a week of violent protests, as well as attacks against U.S. forces and the killing of two American officers in the interior ministry. Afghans have spread rumors that Sunday’s attacks were retribution for those deaths.

    General Jacobson said there is no evidence that the Kandahar attack was linked to any past attacks against U.S. soldiers, but did not disclose the soldier’s possible motive. He urged the public to allow investigators to do their work and not engage in speculation.

    “Beliefs and rumors are always a bad guidance. And we have seen and heard enough beliefs and rumors yesterday, as the story becomes clearer and clearer to us at this moment and has to become clearer in coming days,” Jacobson said.

    The Taliban released a statement that vowed revenge for the killings.

    The shooting comes as U.S. and Afghan authorities negotiate the transfer of security responsibilities to Afghan forces. The two sides already signed off on a deal to transfer full control of an American detention facility to Afghanistan in six months, and now hope to develop a broader strategic partnership agreement before the May meeting of NATO in Chicago. That agreement is expected to define the U.S role in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of most of its 98,000 combat soldiers in 2014.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora