Kandahar incident: US, ISAF vow justice
KABUL (PAN): The United States and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), extending deepest condolences to the families of victims of a shooting incident in southern Kandahar province, on Sunday vowed to bring the responsible soldier to justice.
At least 17 civilians were killed when a US service member walked out of a base in the Zangabad area of Panjwai district before dawn and started firing at houses near the base, villagers said.
“We are saddened by this violent act against our Afghan friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and their entire community,” the US embassy in Kabul said in a statement.
The incident is likely to deepen strains between US forces and their Afghan hosts after weeks of violence triggered by the Quran burning incident in central Parwan province.
The US embassy said US forces were providing the highest level of care for those injured in the shooting. “We are still attempting to ascertain the facts. The incident is under investigation and a United States service member has been detained”.
The embassy said they were committed to an enduring partnership with Afghanistan to obtain greater peace and security in the region as a common interest.
“We deplore any attack by a member of the US Armed Forces against innocent civilians, and denounce all violence against civilians. We assure the people of Afghanistan that the individual or individuals responsible for this act will be identified and brought to justice,” the embassy said.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commander, International Security Assistance Force, Lt. Gen. Adrian J. Bradshaw, said an investigation was already underway and every effort would be made to establish the facts and held anyone responsible.
“In my role as in-theatre commander of ISAF in Gen. Allen’s temporary absence on duty, I wish to convey my profound regrets and dismay at the actions apparently taken by one coalition member in Kandahar province.”
He said one of their soldiers was reported to have killed and injured a number of civilians in villages adjacent to his base.
“I cannot explain the motivation behind such callous acts, but they were in no way part of authorized ISAF military activity,” he said, adding their thoughts and prayers were with those caught in the tragedy.
“I wish once again, on behalf of Gen. Allen and all members of ISAF, to convey our deep regrets and sorrow at this appalling incident."
Meanwhile, ISAF commander Gen. John R. Allen in Washington said he was shocked and saddened to hear about the shooting incident. “I offer my profound regret and deepest condolences to the victims and their families. I pledge to all the noble people of Afghanistan my commitment to a rapid and thorough investigation.”
In a statement, he said they would continue to offer medical care for those who were injured in the shooting. “We will maintain custody of the US service member alleged to have perpetrated this attack. And we will cooperate fully with local Afghan authorities as we ascertain all the facts.”
He said the deeply appalling incident in no way represented the values of ISAF and coalition troops and the abiding respect they felt for the Afghan people.
“Nor does it impugn or diminish the spirit of cooperation and partnership we have worked so hard to foster with the Afghan National Security Forces.”
“The men and women of ISAF join me in my sadness and they join me in extending their condolences,” Gen. Allen said, adding he was absolutely dedicated to making sure that anyone who was found to have committed wrong-doing was held fully accountable.”
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