The details are still under investigation, but according to preliminary reports, a U.S. Army staff sergeant on Sunday walked from his base in Kandahar to a nearby village and opened fire on civilians, killing 16 and wounding five. According to a Fox News report, “nine of the 16 victims were children, and three were women.” The Fox report also said “some of the bodies were found to be charred.”
After the rampage, the soldier returned to base and turned himself in. The Pentagon has not identified him yet, but various reports say he’s in his mid-30s, a father with two children, and the veteran of several deployments to Iraq before being sent to Afghanistan. He is said to have suffered some sort of mental breakdown before the shootings.
The Taliban vowed bloody revenge, as they believe they have a monopoly on murderous rampages by lunatics:
In a statement on their website, the militant group promised to “take revenge from the invaders and the savage murderers for every single martyr.”
They added “American savages” committed the “blood-soaked and inhumane crime.”
“If the perpetrators of this massacre were in fact mentally ill then this testifies to yet another moral transgression by the American military because they are arming lunatics in Afghanistan who turn their weapons against the defenseless Afghans without giving a second thought,” the statement said.
The Afghan government our troops fought and died to install has been as helpful as ever, rushing out to retail conspiracy theories about multiple shooters and death squads:
Abdul Rahim Ayubi, a lawmaker from Kandahar province, said the houses that were attacked were over a mile apart, raising questions about how a single soldier could have carried out all of the shootings.
“It is not possible for only one American soldier to come out of his base, kill a number of people far away, burn the bodies, go to another house and kill civilians there, then walk at least 2 kilometers and enter another house, kill civilians and burn them,” said Ayubi.
Abdul Ghani, a local councilman in Panjwai district, said local villagers reported seeing two groups of soldiers.
“The villagers said they were hearing machine gun fire and pistol fire from different directions,” said Ghani.
This goes all the way up to the Afghan corruptocrat-in-chief, President Hamid Karzai, as reported in the UK Daily Mail:
In a statement, Afghan President Hamid Karzai left open the possibility of more than one shooter. He initially spoke of a single U.S. gunman, then referred to ‘American forces’ entering houses.
The statement quoted a 15-year-old survivor named Rafiullah, shot in the leg, as telling Karzai in a phone call that ‘soldiers’ broke into his house, woke up his family and began shooting them.
Mr Karzai condemned the attacks as ‘an assassination’ and furiously demanded an explanation from the U.S.
This comes despite swift expressions of concern, and promises to prosecute anyone involved in the incident, by President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, American military commanders, and NATO officials. According to the BBC, they’re wasting their time, because Karzai says the incident “cannot be forgiven,” and the Afghan parliament passed a resolution saying it has “run out of patience with the arbitrary actions of foreign forces.”