Panjwai incident threatens peace efforts: eldersBy Wahidulla Mar 19, 2012 - 18:29
KUNDUZ CITY (PAN): Elders and religious scholars in northern Kunduz province on Monday denounced the Panjwai attack, saying such acts by US troops threatened efforts for peace and stability.
Sixteen civilians, including nine children and two women, were shot dead by US troops in the Zangabad area of southern Kandahar last week. Another five civilians were injured when the Americans allegedly broke into four civilian houses.
To condemn the massacre, more than 200 elders and religious scholars held a gathering under the aegis of border and tribal affairs department in Kunduz City, the provincial capital.
The participants called the massacre barbarism and an effort to derail the peace process. High peace council member Mohammad Aman Utmanzai said although foreign troops had come to Afghanistan to restore peace, their acts were fuelling violence.
“Innocent women, children and men were killed in Panjwai by the US troops, something Afghans would never forgive and forget,” he added.
“Our hopes for peace have vanished after a decade-long presence of foreign troops failed to remedy the situation. Frustrated foreigners have now turned their guns to innocent Afghans,” said Syed Amir, a tribal elder.
He asked the government and the international community to put on trial the coalition soldiers responsible for the brutal killing of women and children.
Dr. Dad Ali, a Hazara elder, stressed it was the time for foreign troops to pull out from Afghanistan. “Foreign troops are just like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, who are causing instability in the country.”
Border and Tribal Affairs Director Qazi Abdul Nasir Yousafi said the meeting was aimed at exchanging ideas for bringing stability to the region. He said the proposals floated by participants would be shared with the ministry concerned.