It sounds like a new cycle of violence is about to begin in Afghanistan, making efforts of the U.S. and Afghanistan government to do an orderly pullout and work out future ties much more difficult:
NATO troops in Afghanistan are on high alert after the Taliban vowed to avenge the deaths of 16 innocent civilians – including nine children and three women – who were shot and killed by a rogue U.S. soldier who opened fire after suffering a ‘mental breakdown’ early Sunday morning.
The Army staff sergeant, stationed at a U.S. base in Kandahar, entered three Afghan family’s homes at 3am and began the vicious killing spree. Relatives of the dead said he then ‘poured chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them.’
The shooter is an Army staff sergeant from Fort Lewis-McChord in Washington state, and was believed to have acted alone.
Military officials are investigating the incident and working to discover what made the soldier – believed to be a father of three – snap to such extremes that he would embark on a killing mission.
It’s likely these murders will now become the catalyst for revenge killings:
With tensions rising in the region, U.S. and British officials said they were now braced for a backlash as the Taliban claimed the killings were the work of ‘more than one soldier’.
Militants condemned the ‘blood-soaked and inhumane crime’ by ‘sick-minded American savages’ on its website and vowed to take revenge ‘for every single martyr with the help of Allah’.
Initial reports indicated the gunman returned to his base after the shooting, calmly turned himself in and was taken into custody at a NATO base in Afghanistan.
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.
U.S. officials have been offering their profuse apologies and expressing their shock.
Meanwhile, on the Internet, there are some who are applauding the murders of men, women and sleeping children.