By offering surveillance footage revealing the shooter involved in Sunday's violence and sending over the head of the U.S. military Wednesday, the United States is striving to generate some good will at a time when relations between the two countries are at a sad but understandable "all-time low."
Late Tuesday, U.S. officials addressed head-on the question of whether or not the accused (and still unnamed) Staff Sergeant accused of acted alone. "U.S. authorities showed Afghan authorities the surveillance video to prove that only one perpetrator was involved in the Sunday shootings, which have further strained already shaky relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan," reports the Associated Press, citing an Afghan official who saw the video. Proving that the shooter acted alone is as important to U.S. officials as it is to Afghanistan's parliament, which is compiling its own investigation of the incident to quell resentment among the country's population. Here's what the surveillance video recorded, according to one account:
The surveillance video, taken from an overhead blimp that films the area around the base, shows a soldier in a U.S. uniform approaching the south gate of the base with a traditional Afghan shawl hiding the weapon in his hand, the Afghan official said. He then removes the shawl as he lays his weapon on the ground and raises his arms in surrender.
The U.S.'s account, though, may be falling on deaf ears. One member of parliament involved in the investigation said Wednesday, "the group has concluded the shooting spree was carried out by more than one soldier," according to the AP.
Thankfully, Secretary of Defense Leon Panett's trip to Afghanistan today, planned months ago, lets the United States affirm its concern for the Afghan public as the top U.S. official make an in-person apology tour. It's worth noting that Panetta's trip would have also been helpful after the Koran-burning controversy.
Will Afghanistan's government take the U.S. on its word? We'll see when the parliamentary delegation investigating the massacre releases its findings later today.