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US soldiers killed Afghans 'for fun': Karzai

US soldiers killed Afghans 'for fun': Karzai

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On
Mar 30, 2011 - 16:42

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday made his first comments about the US soldiers who are on trial for killing Afghan soldiers “for fun”.

"The US soldiers killed our people for fun, they killed our youth and elders for fun," Karzai said at a ceremony for about 20,000 teachers who had just graduated from teacher training centres in Kabul.

The civilians included a 15-year-old boy, Karzai said.

Rolling Stone, a US magazine, on Tuesday published a series of graphic photographs and a story which detailed the alleged actions of the so-called “kill squad”.

The story told how the soldiers picked out a teenage farm worker in January last year as the first victim in their spree of killings over a four-month period in southern Kandahar, the birthplace of Talibaninfo-icon, Karzai said.

A photograph accompanying the story shows that the little finger of the boy’s right hand was missing, allegedly cut off as a trophy.

Two soldiers, one of whom was last week jailed for 24 years for the murders, initially threw a grenade at the teenager before gunning him down, and then pretended the youth had attacked them with the grenade.

Five of the 12-member group are on trial in the United States for the murder and seven have been court-martialed for various other crimes relating to the killings, including drug use and stabbing a corpse.

Karzai said he read the article last night. It was a "heart-rending" story, he said. "This was a 12-member team of US soldiers, known as a killing and drug-addled rogue unit," he said.

He said he wanted to talk about the issue to let US civilians hear what Afghans thought. Karzai said he did not have the courage to remain silent on the issue.

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