In Afghan and regional media, the most pressing question about the horrific killings of 16 Afghan civilians by a rogue U.S. soldier is whether he acted alone. Today, Afghan officials said that nine of the 16 victims were children and some of the bodies were charred. In an interview with Fox News, Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby said the suspected shooter is a father in his mid-thirties who had been deployed to Iraq twice.
Questions remain This morning, Afghanistan's largest online news portal Khaarma Press reported that the killings have brought U.S.-Afghan relations to an "all-time low" with President Hamid Karzai issuing an "angry statement" denouncing the "unforgivable action." Afghan lawmakers have begun raising doubts that just one man carried out the killings. "It is not possible for only one American soldier to come out of his base, kill a number of people far away, burn the bodies, go to another house and kill civilians there, then walk at least 2 kilometers and enter another house, kill civilians and burn them," said Abdul Rahim Ayubi, a lawmaker from Kandahar province. He noted that the houses targeted were more than one mile apart. Kandahar parliamentarian Mullah Sayed Mohammed Akhund told The Wall Street Journal that local villagers witnessed more than one solider during the night and Afghan soliders said they heard simultaneous shootings coming from different locations. While U.S. officials insisted that there's no evidence suggesting more than one shooter, The Journal notes that the U.S. Embassy in Kabul seemed to open the possibility that additional accomplices could be involved with a statement saying "the individual or individuals responsible for this act will be identified and brought to justice."
A trial In a dispatch from Kabul, the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reports the Afghan parliament is demanding a public trial in Afghanistan for the U.S. soldier or soliders involved. According to reports, the U.S. soldier was heavily-armed and walked off the base with night vision goggles, breaking into three homes in the methodical killing spree. “We seriously demand and expect that the government of the United States punish the culprits and try them in a public trial before the people of Afghanistan,” Afghanistan's lower house of parliament said in statement.