“When the Americans are killing civilians intentionally, this is called terror and it is an unforgivable act,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai has declared.
Afghans are questioning why a soldier sent to protect them would brutally murder so many innocent civilians. Anger is amplifying over the massacre of 16 civilians in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. An American soldier went from house to house mercilessly shooting men, women and children. He was involved in a small Special Operations project to improve local self-defense forces to protect Afghan villagers from the Taliban.
The events of Sunday will surely add fire to an already tense relationship between Kabul and Washington. The Afghan lower house of parliament declared that “people are running out of patience over the ignorance of foreign forces”. Talks about the future of American troops in Afghanistan could easily be derailed as Afghans become increasingly frustrated by the presence of foreign troops.
Tensions were already high- It has only been weeks since the Quran burning at a US army base sparked manic riots during which 29 Afghans and 6 American soldiers were killed. There are fears that these murders may trigger a similar wave of chaos. This act also echoes of events from last year when Four U.S. Army soldiers were convicted of murdering Afghan civilians for sport and also collecting their body parts as trophies.
The savage murders hand ammunition to the Taliban who have already declared that they will avenge the murders. The Taliban said, “The so-called American peacekeepers have once again quenched their thirst with the blood of innocent Afghan civilians”. The murderous rampage could easily lead to more blood being spilled just as America is trying to withdraw troops in an orderly manner.
The Pentagon’s chief spokesman said the basic war strategy in Afghanistan will not change, however, it is obviously a major setback for plans to hand military power to the Afghans whilst gradually withdrawing American troops.
The US embassy has warned of Anti-American feelings. It is tragic that the act of one man may undo the work of the 90,000 US soldiers in Afghanistan. The sacrifices troops have made may be worthless if the cooperation of the Afghan people is lost completely because of these atrocious murders. The people of Afghanistan are already deeply divided and this event will only cause to deepen those divides.