|Mamoon Durrani, AFP/Getty Images|
Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer
If gas at four hundred dollars per gallon, the turning tide of Afghan public opinion and a decade of spending with no visible progress did not provide enough reasons to live Afghanistan, today we got another to add to the list.
According to Afghan officials who visited the scene of the murders, some 16 people, nearly all of which were women and children, have been killed by a lone American soldier.
The individual allegedly left the southern Afghanistan base on which he was deployed in the early hours of the morning, after which he conducted a cold, calculated house-to-house murder spree.
NATO officials have confirmed that the killer is in military custody and had been responsible for an unspecified number of casualties during the rampage, which was around 3 AM Sunday morning.
In response to the killings, the U.S. Embassy called for calm and expressed their deep condolences, while the Taliban called the killings an “act of genocide.”
This latest incident means a potentially irreparable setback in U.S.-Afghan relations, which are already strained due to the Koran burnings at an American military base north of Kabul and the ensuing violent protests.
When the news of the Koran burnings at Bagram airfield surfaced, the latent anti-Western sentiment grew into full-scale riots which carried on for some time.
U.S. officials insist that it was a mistake and offered their apologies, but some Afghan lawmakers and prominent clerics have brushed these apologies aside and continued their calls for the harsh punishment of those responsible.
The latest killings took place in the village of Alkozai, in the Panjwayi district near Kandahar city.
Anonymous U.S. military officials told the Los Angeles Times that they believed that the murderer suffered a mental breakdown at some point.
NATO’s official statement promised a thorough investigation by both U.S. and Afghan authorities and confirmed that there were casualties, without offering many other details.
Lieutenant General Adrian Bradshaw, the acting commander of the forces in Afghanistan, expressed his “deep regret and sorrow at this appalling incident.”
“I cannot explain the motivation behind such callous acts, but they were in no way part of authorized … military activity,” Bradshaw added.
I can’t believe that Bradshaw could be so ignorant as to say that he cannot think of what motivated this individual.
This individual’s mindset is a product of war and the systematic dehumanization of the so-called “enemy” which these soldiers are conditioned to accept.
All one has to do is look at the disturbingly high rates of suicide amongst soldiers who have seen combat to understand the deep and, for those who have not experienced it, unimaginable psychology trauma these soldiers endure.
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If we weren’t still in Afghanistan, wasting money we don’t have, putting Americans in the line of fire while encouraging anti-American sentiment and killing countless Afghans in the name of the “War on Terror” incidents like today’s would never occur.
Of course, Bradshaw and those like him would never recognize the fact that incidents like these could be eliminated entirely if we just packed up and went home, using the resources being diverted into the Middle East to help the many struggling Americans at home.
Haji Agha Lalai Dastgeeri, a member of the official provincial delegation dispatched to the scene of the murders, said that the official count was 16 casualties.
Nine of these were women, four were children and three were men, he said.
“I saw the dead bodies and visited the victims’ families,” Dastgeeri said.
Earlier in the day, reports of the number of dead varied considerably with the deputy head of the Kandahar provincial council, Haji Mohammad Ehsan, saying that 18 were killed.
A spokesman for the Kandahar media center, Javed Faisal, said that “up to 15″ individuals were murdered and several others had been wounded.
While the Los Angeles Times claims, “The attacker’s motive was unknown” I think it is quite clear that the trauma of war and the recent problems in U.S.-Afghan relations after the Koran burnings are likely responsible to some extent.
In one case, two Americans were killed by a worker at Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry, which some say was a response to the Koran burnings, while a Marine writing for End the Lie alleges that it was actually a response to an investigation into the drug trade.
Either way, if nothing else, it is becoming painfully clear that we need to get out of Afghanistan.
We are only continuing to create potential terrorists by occupying their nation and incidents like today’s rampage are likely to inflame the already strained tensions even more.
I see absolutely no reason to continue our occupation. We must stop spending money we don’t have, stop psychologically damaging both Americans and Afghans, stop the murders and stop our imperialistic crusade which has made no positive progress whatsoever.
If anyone needed another reason, which I honestly think we did not, today’s horrific events gave us just that.