Obama vows full probe of Afghan killings
WASHINGTON (PAN): Terming the killing of innocent civilians as “outrageous and unacceptable”, US President Barack Obama on Tuesday assured the people of Afghanistan he would ensure those responsible is brought to justice.
“I can assure the American people and the Afghan people that we will follow the facts wherever they lead us, and we will make sure that anybody who was involved is held fully accountable with the full force of the law,” Obama told reporters in his remarks at the Rose Garden of the White House.
“The killing of innocent civilians is outrageous, and it's unacceptable. It's not who we are as a country, and it does not represent our military,” he said. “For that reason, I've directed the Pentagon to make sure that we spare no effort in conducting a full investigation,” he added.
On Sunday Obama had spoken to his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai. “What I've made to President Karzai when I spoke to him is that the United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens and our own children who were murdered. We're heartbroken over the loss of innocent life,” he said.
Obama said on Monday he met his commander in Afghanistan, Gen John Allen, and the US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Croker.
“I have extraordinary confidence in them and in the many Americans who are serving in Afghanistan and who have made extraordinary sacrifices to be there,” he said, adding that later in the day, he would be meeting the British Prime Minister, David Cameroon, during which he would have an opportunity to consult about the way forward as they prepare for the NATO summit in Chicago later this spring.
“So make no mistake: We have a strategy that will allow us to responsibly wind down this war. We're steadily transitioning to the Afghans, who are moving into the lead. And that's going to allow us to bring our troops home,” he said.
“We are scheduled to remove 23,000 troops by the end of this summer, following the 10,000 that we withdrew last year. And meanwhile we will continue the work of devastating al-Qaida's leadership and denying them a safe haven,” Obama said.
Acknowledging that there is no question that they face a difficult challenge in Afghanistan, Obama exuded confidence that they can continue the work of meeting our objectives, protecting the country and responsibly bringing this war to a close.
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