Photo: Flickr/keith stanski
Residents of an Afghan village near where an American solider is alleged to have killed 16 civilians are convinced that the massacre was in retaliation for a roadside bomb detonated in the area a few days earlier, as reported by The Associated Press.Residents in the village of Mokhoyan— which lies about 500 yards east of the assigned base of alleged shooter Robert Bales—told The Associated Press and Afghan officials that on March 7 or 8 U.S. soldiers lined them up against a wall after a roadside bomb injured soldiers and told them they would pay a price for the attack.
“After the incident, they took the wreckage of their destroyed tank and their wounded people from the area,” [Ghulam Rasool, a tribal elder from Panjwai district] said. “After that, they came back to the village nearby the explosion site.
“The soldiers called all the people to come out of their houses and from the mosque,” he said.
“The Americans told the villagers ‘A bomb exploded on our vehicle. … We will get revenge for this incident by killing at least 20 of your people,”‘ Mr. Rasool said. “These are the reasons why we say they took their revenge by killing women and children in the villages.”
Several villagers told similar accounts of coalition troops lining them up against a wall after the roadside bombing and telling them that they and their families would pay for it.
The lawyer for Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales— who is accused of leaving a US base in Panjwai district of Kandahar province, entering homes in two villages and gunning down nine children, four men and three women before dawn on March 11— has said that his client was upset because a buddy had lost a leg in an explosion on March 9.
The investigative team for Afghan president Hamid Karzai is not convinced that one soldier could have carried out the killings in two villages and set fire to some of the victims’ bodies. The US military has said its investigation is ongoing and everything currently points to one shooter.
It has been impossible to independently confirm the eyewitness accounts of the roadside bombing because the U.S. military does not release information on incidents if no coalition troops are killed.
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