updated march 17, 14:27 CET
Probe team: Women sexually assaulted before killing in Panjwai ...
before the gun attack, US soldiers physically manhandled the two women and later turned their weapons on the helpless residents
By Absin Zaheer
US soldiers were alleged to have sexually assaulted two female victims before they were killed in the Panjwai massacre in southern Kandahar last Sunday, a high-level Afghan probe team revealed.
The Wolesi Jirga’s, or lower house of Parliament, delegation investigating the Kandahar shootings by US troops said besides killing 16 civilians, the soldiers sexually assaulted them.
On the ill-fated Sunday, US troops shot 16 civilians, including nine children and three women, and injured five others when they opened fire on houses in Zangabad village, in Panjwai district.
Some of the victims’ bodies were later set on fire.
The Wolesi Jirga members jointly probing the Panjwai episode, along with a government team, on Saturday presented their chilling findings to the general session of the Parliament.
MP Hamidzai Lali, representing Kandahar province and a delegation member, said before the gun attack, US soldiers physically manhandled the two women and later turned their weapons on the helpless residents.
Shakiba Hashami, another delegation member, confirmed the vicious attack, adding about 15 to 20 American soldiers were involved in the killings and even helicopters were seen hovering the areas.
Quoting local residents, Hashami, said ahead of the Sunday tragedy, there was a blast in the area and foreign troops had warned of revenge killings.
The Afghan Parliamentarians strongly condemned the incident and demanded a public trial for the perpetrators.
US officials had claimed a mentally unstable soldier was responsible for the killings and pledged to put him on trial. Recent media reports said the suspect, in his late 30s, was initially transferred to Kuwait and later flown to the US where he is being interrogated.
Up to 20 US troops executed Panjwai massacre: probe
Bashir Ahmad Naadim
Mar 15, 2012 - 21:33
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): A parliamentary probe team on Thursday said up to 20 American troops were involved in Sunday’s killing of 16 civilians in southern Kandahar province.
The probing delegation includes lawmakers Hamidzai Lali, Abdul Rahim Ayubi, Shakiba Hashimi, Syed Mohammad Akhund and Bismillah Afghanmal, all representing Kandahar province at the Wolesi Jirga and Abdul Latif Padram, a lawmaker from northern Badakhshan province, Mirbat Mangal, Khost province, Muhammad Sarwar Usmani, Farah province.
The team spent two days in the province, interviewing the bereaved families, tribal elders, survivors and collecting evidences at the site in Panjwai district.
Hamizai Lali told Pajhwok Afghan News their investigation showed there were 15 to 20 American soldiers, who executed the brutal killings.
“We closely examined the site of the incident, talked to the families who lost their beloved ones, the injured people and tribal elders,” he said.
He added the attack lasted one hour involving two groups of American soldiers in the middle of the night on Sunday.
“The villages are one and a half kilometre from the American military base. We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups.”
Lali asked the Afghan government, the United Nations and the international community to ensure the perpetrators were punished in Afghanistan.
He expressed his anger that the US soldier, the prime suspect in the shooting, had been flown out of Afghanistan to Kuwait.
He said the people they met had warned if the responsible troops were not punished, they would launch a movement against Afghans who had agreed to foreign troops’ presence in Afghanistan under the first Bonn conference in 2001.
The lawmaker said the Wolesi Jirga would not sit silent until the killers were prosecuted in Afghanistan. "If the international community does not play its role in punishing the perpetrators, the Wolesi Jirga would declare foreign troops as occupying forces, like the Russians," Lali warned.
President Hamid Karzai on Thursday asked the US to pull out all its troops from Afghan villages in response to the killings.
Pajhwok Afghan News is Afghanistan’s largest independent news agency. With headquarters in Kabul, eight regional bureaus and a nationwide network of reporters and correspondents, Pajhwok delivers an average daily output of three dozen stories in Pashto, Dari and English. Pajhwok also provides photographs, video footage and audio clips to international wire agencies, television and radio stations.
From its beginnings as a small project to report on the 2003 Constitutional Loya Jirga, Pajhwok has become the main provider of daily news to the country’s media and the most trusted source of news about Afghanistan from an Afghan perspective. Pajhwok is wholly owned and operated by Afghans and has no political affiliations.