Small Wars Journal


Alleged Massacre in Kandahar, Afghanistan (Update 1)

Sun, 03/11/2012 - 12:02pm

In a developing situation, a single U.S. soldier has reportedly massacred up to 16 Afghan civilians, including women and children, in two villages in the Panjway district of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.  The Washington Post report can be found here.

I will attempt to post major updates here, but the blog entry is not so much to keep readers informed, as this will be all over the internet, as it is for readers to comment on the developing situation.  

Missy Ryan, a Reuters correspondent, tweeted that villagers were reporting multiple soldiers took part in the massacre and that they were drunk.  The claims are not important so much for their possible veracity as they are for the narratives that will resonate in Afghanistan.  The U.S. military claims a single participant is already in custody.  The Embassy has released condolence messages in EnglishPashto and Dari.  ISAF has released a statement as well.  Note that the Embassy statements are on YouTube, perhaps a more effective means for a largely illiterate population, but I'm unsure how much reach even these statements will have.

Update 1:

The NY Times article from Monday's paper is one of the most thorough accounts to this point.

Early on Monday, with the attacker in the custody of American forces, the public mood in Kandahar and Kabul seemed subdued with no immediate sign of protests on the streets. ...

In Panjwai, a reporter for The New York Times who inspected bodies that had been taken to the nearby American military base counted 16 dead, including five children with single gunshot wounds to the head, and saw burns on some of the children’s legs and heads. “All the family members were killed, the dead put in a room, and blankets were put over the corpses and they were burned,” said Anar Gula, an elderly neighbor who rushed to the house after the soldier had left. “We put out the fire.”