Taliban fighters opened fire at a memorial service honoring the 16 Afghans killed by an American soldier on Sunday, in an attempt to take the lives of Qayum Karzai, Shah Wali Karzai, and other government officials. Both men, brothers of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, escaped the 20-minute battle unharmed; however, one Afghan soldier was killed and two others wounded during the fighting. source
This is not the first of those events, and it probably won’t be the last. But we cannot allow these events to undermine our strategy or the mission that we’re involved in.Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta • While discussing the recent shooting of 16 Afghan citizens, by a member of the U.S. military, with reporters on flight to Kyrgyzstan. During his remarks, the Secretary of Defense also mentioned that the government’s goal was to see the suspect tried in the U.S. military justice system. Panetta’s comments come amid increasingly loud calls for the soldier in question to face trial in Afghanistan, and for the United States to re-evaluate its long-term plans for operating inside the country. The calls have grown louder in recent weeks after a series of incidents including Sunday’s shooting, and the mass-burning of Korans at Bagram Air Base last month. source (via • follow)
This is an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven.Afghan President Hamid Karzai • Using tough words in discussing the mass killing of 16 Afghan civilians, allegedly at the hands of a U.S. soldier. Karzai says he’s asked the U.S. to stop killing Afghan civilians many times in the past, but the latest incident seems to have put him over the edge.
» Another blow to U.S.-Afghan relations: With the killing of civilians allegedly at the hands of a U.S. soldier in Kandahar Province, tensions in the region are further rising, just weeks after a Koran-burning incident brought relations between the two countries to an all-time low. Afghan President Hamid Karzai says that 9 children and 3 women were among those killed. “This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved,” the U.S. said in a statement, promising an investigation would follow. The U.S. Embassy also urged calm.
I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident. I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies. … The error was inadvertent. I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.President Obama • Apologizing to Afghan president Hamid Karzai about the Koran-burning incident earlier this week, which has sparked widespread demonstration in the country and led to the deaths of at least eight people — the most recent of which happened when a man, wearing an Afghan Army uniform, opened fire on two coalition soldiers, killing them. This is not going to be an easy one for coalition forces to get past.