Sunday, September 12, 2010

U.S. Troops Accused of Killing Afghans For Fun, Collecting Fingers As Trophies

From Democracy Now

The Guardian newspaper reports twelve U.S. soldiers face charges over forming a secret "kill team" that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies. Five of the soldiers are charged with murdering three Afghan men who were allegedly killed for fun in separate attacks this year. Seven others are accused of covering up the killings and assaulting a recruit who exposed the murders when he reported other abuses. All of the soldiers are members of a Stryker infantry brigade based in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. Meanwhile the father of one of the men charged has told the Associated Press he tried nearly a half dozen times to pass an urgent message from his son to the Army that troops in his unit had murdered an Afghan civilian and planned more killings. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell addressed the charges on Thursday.
Geoff Morrell: "I don’t believe the allegations here against these few individuals are representative of the behavior or the attitudes of the entire force. That said, it clearly—even if these allegations are proved to be untrue—is unhelpful. It does not help the—you know, the perceptions of our forces around the world. And so, the sad part about this is, even if these individuals are vindicated, even if they’re not true, the damage will have been done."

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