Afghan leader blasts US over probe into shootings
Saturday, March 17, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Warning he’s at the “end of the rope” over civilian casualties, Afghanistan’s president angrily accused the U.S. of not sharing information about how an American soldier allegedly shot and killed 16 Afghans in two villages.
The incident has reverberated through the already complicated relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan, endangering talks over a long-term relationship after most U.S. and NATO combat troops withdraw by the end of 2014.
In an emotional meeting with relatives of the shooting victims, Karzai said the villagers’ accounts of the massacre were widely different from the scenario depicted by U.S. military officials. The relatives and villagers insisted that it was impossible for one gunmen to kill nine children, four men and three women in three houses of two villages near a U.S. combat outpost in southern Afghanistan.
Karzai said the delegation he sent to Kandahar province to investigate the shootings did not receive the expected cooperation from the United States. He said many questions remained about what occurred, and he would be raising the questions with the U.S. military “very loudly.”
The U.S. military had no comment on Karzai’s remarks.
The Afghan leader stressed that he wants a good relationship with the international community, but that it was becoming increasingly difficult in light of airstrikes that miss their targets, leaving civilians dead and raising opposition to night operations where troops raid homes looking for insurgents.